General Coordinator of the opposition’s High Negotiations Committee (HNC) Riad Hijab said that there is no solution in Syria while Bashar al-Assad holds to power, stressing that the goal of the Geneva talks is the formation of a transitional governing body without any role for war criminals, including Assad.
“We can assure the Syrian people that al-Assad will not remain in power and that his crimes will not go unpunished,” Hijab told reporters today in Geneva. “Any talk about a national unity government or a broad government is just empty talk. There will be no solution with Bashar al-Assad in power; Assad is only dreaming.”
“We asked the UN envoy Staffan de Mistura to set a clear agenda for political transition that takes into consideration the regime’s attempts to procrastinate and evade regarding a political solution because the regime sees its end in such a solution,” Hijab added.
Hijab reiterated rejection of any proposals or deals designed to keep Assad in power, adding that Assad is a war criminal and must be brought to justice.
“The opposition agreed to the truce so that humanitarian aid could be allowed into the besieged areas, but the Assad regime has not complied with the terms of the truce. Only 6 percent of people in the besieged areas have received aid since the Geneva talks began.”
Hijab pointed out that the suffering of the Syrian people has increased since the talks resumed, citing the death of an eighteen-year old man who starved to death in the besieged town of Madaya after Hezbollah terrorist militias prevented his evacuation.
“We will not negotiate whilst our people die of bombardment and hunger.”
With regard to detainees in Assad’s prisons, Hijab said that not a single detainee has been released from Assad’s prisons since the truce took effect. “Assad besieges around 1.7 million Syrians. It is a crime that outweighs crimes committed by the Nazis. Dozens of Syrians die every day in Assad’s prisons. The international community must take immediate action to rescue them.”
Hijab asked how the international community claims it supports a political transition in Syria when it is incapable of introducing a pack of milk to the besieged areas.
He warned of a humanitarian catastrophe should regime forces and their allies succeeded in encircling Aleppo where they have been ramping up forces. “Iran has reportedly sent the 23rd Armored Brigade to Syria, along with mercenaries and weapons. Russia has also been sending large shipments of weapons to the Assad regime. Meanwhile, the Syrian people are denied the means they need to defend themselves,” Hijab said.
“We receive from our friends, including the United States, just about 20% of the military support the Assad regime receives from its allies,” Hijab said. (Source: Syrian Coalition)