President Khoja calls on the United States to establish safe havens in Syria protect civilians from constant bombardment by Assad’s warplanes with barrel bombs and poisonous chlorine gas during a joint press conference held on Thursday night in Washington with US Secretary of State John Kerry. President Khoja’s visit to Washington comes ahead of the bilateral consultation meetings scheduled to be held in Geneva starting from early May in a bid to revive chances of a political solution to the conflict.
“President Assad has no legitimacy and he is not part of the future of Syria. And for that reason he needs to be prosecuted and subjected to fair trial for the crimes he has committed against the Syrian people,” Khoja said.
Kerry stated that “the situation on the ground in Syria and in the communities around it is simply unsustainable, catastrophic … This is a regime that has lost all sense of any kind of responsibility to its own people, and that is why there must be a transition from the Assad regime towards a government that represents all the people and can repair this extraordinary damage to Syria, unite the country, protect all minorities, and provide a legitimate future.”
“The other part of the problem is that as Assad is busy destroying the country in his own interests, he is enabling and attracting terrorists to the country who are having a further negative impact on the region. That’s why he has lost all legitimacy with respect to his ability to be able to be a part of the long-term future of the country,” Kerry added.
President Khoja delivered a speech at United Nations headquarters yesterday on the Day of Remembrance for all victims of chemical warfare. It marks the hundredth anniversary of the first large-scale use of chemical weapons, which took place during World War I.
“We appeal to you to take the following steps. First, implement your resolutions on the delivery of humanitarian aid and the prohibition of chlorine gas. Second, emphasize accountability as a component in the political solution. Third, we urge you to take effective steps to stop the barrel bombs by establishing safe zones. Such zones will contribute to a political solution and will serve the immediate goal of saving lives and alleviating human suffering.” Khoja said.
“The regime cannot win militarily. Opposition forces have defeated the regime in the north and south, despite the support that it has received from some regional and international forces and from mercenary militias from all over the world. In parallel, there are growing divisions within the regime … a regime turning on itself. The military and economic decline of the regime coincides with the withdrawal of its troops from cities – which it then aerially bombards,” he added.
Khoja went on: “The political opposition, and particularly the Syrian Coalition, is making progress. We have worked hard to move from the mindset of opposition to that of a state. We are leading the effort, through open dialogue with the rest of the political opposition groups, including Building the Syrian State Movement, and National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change, to unite our political efforts and positions within the framework of the Geneva Communiqué.”
“We have initiated joint meetings with moderate armed groups on fighting extremism and maintaining a large part of the military, security and civil state institutions during the transitional phase. The first consultative meeting, held on April 25 and attended by the majority of the military factions fighting the Assad regime and ISIL, was a step towards forming a comprehensive national consensus on the parameter of a political solution, and towards an agreement on establishing a civil democratic state.” (Source: Syrian Coalition)