General Coordinator of the opposition’s High Negotiations Committee Riad Hijab called for ratcheting up pressure on the Assad regime and its allies to stop the massacres they are committing Aleppo, Homs and Idlibl. He noted that Russia and Iran exploit the diplomatic vacuum resulting from the suspension of the US-Russian negotiations as well as the transition of power in the United States to resolve the conflict by military means.
At a meeting with Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop in the Qatari capital of Doha on Thursday evening, Hijab stressed that the ground invasion of Aleppo by the Assad regime and its allies will fail, warning that “these attempts will only result in more civilian casualties.”
The two sides discussed ways to stop the escalating aerial and artillery bombardment of Aleppo and other areas across Syria by the Assad regime and its Russian ally. Hundreds of civilians have been killed and injured in Aleppo since the Assad regime and Russian forces resumed bombardment of the city and countryside on Tuesday.
Outside support encouraged the Assad regime to rebuff all international efforts to resolve the conflict by diplomatic means, Hijab said. He stressed the need to compel Iran and Russia to cease hostilities and abide by the UN resolutions on Syria.
“We asked our friends in the UN Security Council and European Union to exercise pressure on the Russians and the Iranians to commit to a cease-fire,” Hijab noted. He pointed that Bashar Al-Assad’s latest remarks indicate that he is detached from reality, reiterating that “Assad should not have any role to play in the future of Syria.”
For her part, Australian’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said that her country has imposed sanctions on the Assad regime in line with UN resolutions, adding that the Australian ambassador to the United Nations has instructions in this regard.
Hijab thanked the Australian foreign minister for the stance shown by his country, expressing hope that Australia step up humanitarian and political support for the Syrian people.
Hijab gave an overview of the Syrian opposition’s vision for a political solution in Syria which the HNC declared in London back in September. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Office)