The Assad regime considers the U.S.-Russia agreement a mandate to continue to commit massacres using conventional weaponry. The international community must enable the Syrian people to protect themselves.
The General Assembly of the National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces has concluded the work of its 9th meeting held on September 13th – 15th Istanbul, Turkey. The General Assembly held lengthy discussions on the latest political and military situation in Syria as well as the use of chemical weapons on Eastern and Western Gouta on August 21st, 2013. Khalid Saleh, head of the media office of the Syrian Coalition, said in a press conference on Monday that the General Assembly “considers turning over and the elimination of chemical weapons a procedural matter and does not bring perpetrators of crimes against the Syrian people to justice.” He said that the General Assembly “stresses the least credible thing the international community, as well as Friend of Syria, can do is to protect Syrian civilians. Achieving this goal can only be done by arming the Free Syrian Army and stopping the use of air force, and ballistic missiles against innocent civilians.”
The General Assembly “notes that the Assad regime considers the U.S.-Russia agreement a mandate to continue to commit crimes and massacres using conventional weaponry.” The General Assembly noted with concern the regime’s recent escalation of military operations against the Syrian people after the threat of punitive military strikes has eased. It also considers the Russian proposal “a political maneuver aimed to give the regime time to squash the Syrian revolution and kill more civilians.”
Furthermore, the GA considered the sole focus on the U.S.-Russia agreement and ignoring other significant issues related to the Syrian revolution as “politically, legally, and ethically unacceptable; it could further have dire consequences on the peace and security of the region.”
The GA rejected decisions which “implicitly acknowledge and allow the remaining of the Assad regime for a specified period of time”, as well as any political solutions which might “lead to the participation of the Assad regime’s figures in shaping the future of Syria”, and the GA considered the lack of accountability for Assad’s crimes “a complete disregard for international norms and laws.”
The GA noted with concern the continued support “Russia and China still provide to the Assad regime while at the same time backing political initiatives. This demonstrates the complicity of these two countries in the deaths of Syrian people.”
“Giving the Assad regime more time with continued military support by Russia and Iran will not improve conditions necessary to hold a Geneva II conference. If tipping the balance of power on the ground towards the Syrian people and the rebels is not achieved, all efforts related to holding a peace conference, and the chances of its success, are in grave peril,” The GA also said in its final statement.
In terms of the interim government, the General Assembly said Dr. Ahmad Tomeh was elected to lead the interim government. It wished him success in carrying out his duties.
In terms of the agreement with the Kurdish National Council, the General Assembly announced that it approved the political document agreed upon with the Kurdish National Council, and stressed that the Syrian Coalition will send correspondence to the Kurdish council requesting three representatives to attend the next General Assembly meeting.
Regarding decision and laws, the GA passed a resolution that maintains the national sovereignty. The law states: “The Coalition is committed to ensuring all agreements, treaties, and conventions it concludes with all political party will be brought before the first elected parliament in Syria for amendment, approval, or abolition.”
The final statement said that members of the Syrian Coalition reiterate their complete commitment to moving forward to achieve the aspirations of the Syria people and the goals of the Syrian revolution. Furthermore, they reject any compromises or attempts to change the course of the revolution.
Anas Abda, member of the political committee of the Syrian Coalition, stressed in a press conference on Monday that he did not notice, at any stage of the negotiations, any separatist tendencies on the part of the Kurds. On the contrary, he said: “We recognize the Kurdish ethnicity and rights in a framework of unified Syria. This is a big step forward.”