President of the Syrian Coalition Abdulrahman Mustafa and members of the political committee on Tuesday met with Joel Rayburn, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Levant Affairs and Special Envoy for Syria in the U.S. State Department and an accompanying team. The two sides discussed the progress in the dialogue on the establishment of a safe zone east of the Euphrates and sparing the region any military action.
The two sides also discussed the latest political and field developments in Syria, most notably the serious military escalation by the Assad regime and its allies in northern Syria, the United States’ recent decision to designate Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps as a terrorist group, and the issue of the safe zone.
President Mustafa said that the Assad regime continues to commit crimes against unarmed civilians in the provinces of Idlib, Aleppo and Hama, noting that the regime and its allies have most recently used the white phosphorous and cruise missiles in their bombing campaign.
President Mustafa underlined the importance of holding the Assad regime accountable for these crimes as key to the political process that was laid out in international resolutions on Syria, most notably the Geneva Communique of 2012 and UN Security Council resolution 2254. He called on the United States and its allies to ratchet up pressure on the Assad regime to force it to respect the Idlib ceasefire agreement and agree on the resumption of the political process.
With regard to the issue of east of the Euphrates River, President Mustafa stressed the importance of US-Turkish agreement in that region. He also underlined the important role the Syrian Interim Government could play in governance. He went on to say that the Syrian Coalition is working on the restructuring of the Syrian Interim Government and developing a new plan of action to operate in Syria’s north. He pointed to the importance of support from friendly countries for the success of these efforts.
For his part, Mr. Rayburn said that his country is currently focusing on supporting accountability and preventing impunity. He cited war crimes being committed by the Assad regime, including those that were revealed by the Caesar photos. He also touched on the latest developments in the Caesar Bill which the US already adopted.
He pointed out that Washington would not allow Iran to continue to commit crimes against civilians in Syria, adding that these crimes are one of the reasons behind the US decision to designate the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist group.
Mr. Rayburn stressed the importance of ensuring the engagement of all components of the north east region in the local councils, the continued dialogue on the establishment of a safe zone, and averting any military option. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)