The Syrian Opposition Coalition’s (SOC) Department of Foreign Relations held a virtual meeting with ambassadors and representatives of friendly states in the context of an international campaign the SOC launched to confront the coronavirus pandemic in Syria.
The meeting brought together Hadi Al-Bahra, Co-chair of the Constitutional Committee, Maram al-Sheikh, Minister of Health in the Syrian Interim Government, Muhammad Hassnu, Director of the Assistance Coordination Unit, and Nasser Al-Mahawesh, Coordinator of Monitoring in ACU’s Early Warning and Response Network.
Participants included representatives of the United States, the European Union, Great Britain, Germany, France, and Belgium.
The discussions focused on the health situation in Syria, steps to stem the coronavirus outbreak in the liberated areas, and following up on the implementation of the plan already agreed upon by the Ministry of Health, the Health Cluster, and the World Health Organization to confront the virus.
Minister of Health briefed the participants on the health situation in the liberated areas as he pointed out that the Ministry continues to conduct tests for suspected case. He said that they have detected a total 22 positive cases as of Thursday evening.
Al-Sheikh added that there is intense coordination between the Ministry of Health and the health directorates in all regions, indicating that they have equipped two quarantine centers in Bab al-Hawa border crossing and the town of Al-Bab.
He pointed to deep concern due to the increasing number of cases, especially as the region lacks the resources to deal with the virus. He demanded that health kits and masks be provided to the people free of charge as he called for stepping up support in the provision of food and drinking water.
SOC’s President Nasr Al-Hariri also participated in the meeting. He thanked these states for the continued support for the Syrian people and their cause, especially in the areas of humanitarian and medical assistance and efforts to stem the coronavirus. He talked about the critical situation in the liberated areas, especially with regard to healthcare facilities and the high population density, particularly in the IDP camps. He stressed the need to continue to support and strengthen the emergency response plan in coordination with the World Health Organization and the need to step up support with regard to drinking water.
Al-Hariri stressed that the only solution to deal with the crises afflicting the country, including the coronavirus crisis, lies in achieving a political transition in accordance with UN Resolution 2254 and the Geneva Communique of 2012. Such a transition will lead to a state based on institutions and capable of properly dealing with crises as well as meeting the aspirations of the Syrian people for freedom, dignity and democracy. He stressed the need for accountability and the release of detainees as the cornerstone of transitional justice and sustainable peace in Syria.
The issue of detainees in the prisons of the Assad regime was one of the main topics of discussion as participants in the meeting stressed that detainees are more vulnerable than others in Syria in view of the extremely dire conditions inside prisons and detention centers.
They called for ratcheting up pressure on the Assad regime to abide by international resolutions and calls by the UN envoy Geir Pedersen for the immediate release of detainees and giving international organizations access to detention centers.
Participants in the meeting also discussed the latest on the ground developments, especially the withdrawal of military formations of the Syrian National Army from the populated areas.
They also discussed preparations by representatives of the Syrian Negotiations Commission in the Constitutional Committee for the third round of talks in Geneva which was called for by the UN envoy to Syria, Geir Pedersen.
For their part, ambassadors and representatives of the friendly states reaffirmed their continued support for the rights of the Syrian people, commitment to providing humanitarian and medical assistance to those in need in the IDP camps, the political process, and the efforts of the UN envoy to make the work of the Constitutional Committee success in order to reach a political solution in accordance with UN resolution 2254. (Source: SOC’s Media Department)