A delegation from the Syrian Opposition Coalition (SOC), headed by President Salem Al-Meslet, met with US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Barbara Leaf to discuss the latest field and political developments in Syria. In attendance were also Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Ethan Goldrich, Director General of the Iraq and Syria Department in the National Security Council at the White House Emily Barnes, and a delegate from the Department of Defense.
The meeting, which took place at the US State Department, brought together SOC’s Vice-Presidents Abdel Hakim Bashar, Abdulahad Astepho, Ruba Habboush, Secretary of the political committee Abdel Majid Barakat, and member of the General Assembly Dima Moussa.
The SOC’s delegation spoke about the impasse in the political process and the SOC’s expectations of the return of a powerful US role in the political process and pressing towards implementing UN resolutions, most importantly the Geneva Communique of 2012 and UN Resolution 2254.
President al-Meslet stressed the importance of having a US-led initiative to seek the implementation of the UN resolutions on Syria. He made it clear that the return of Syrian refugees is contingent upon achieving a political transition in Syria in accordance with UN resolutions.
The SOC’s delegation also talked about the humanitarian issues, the Assad regime’s dodging of the US sanctions, and its role in the Russian invasion of Ukraine. They also raised the field issues, education and healthcare in the liberated areas, the PYD terrorist militia’s violations against civilians in the areas east of the Euphrates, and the exodus of people from SDF-controlled areas to the liberated areas.
The delegation stressed that Russia is to blame for the continued suffering of the Syrian people in view of its ongoing atrocities and its disruption of the political process. They also touched on the issue of detainees and the need to ensure their release, especially women and children.
Secretary of the political committee and Coordinator of the Caesar Act, Abdul Majeed Barakat, spoke about the Assad regime’s establishment of security and military companies in order to recruit fighters in Syria to send them to Ukraine in exchange for dropping criminal charges against those fighters, especially those who served time in prison and those who have criminal records.
The SOC’s delegation stressed the rejection of normalization with the Assad regime and the refusal to start reconstruction unless a political transition is put in place; security and stability are restored in the country; the aspirations of the Syrian people for freedom, dignity and democracy are fulfilled; and those responsible for war crimes against civilians are held accountable.
Moreover, the SOC’s delegation talked about the suffering of the residents of al-Rukban camp on the Syrian-Jordanian border as a result of the suffocating blockade imposed by the regime and Iranian militias on the camp. The delegation also pointed out that the Assad regime’s crimes went beyond the Syrian territory as they began to affect Ukraine, and as the regime always expresses its support for the Russian aggression against Ukraine.
For its part, the US officials reaffirmed their country’s support for the cause of the Syrian people and that they are pushing for the implementation of UN resolutions, in addition to looking for new mechanisms for ratcheting up pressure the Assad regime and Russia. They pointed out that their position on the political process is clear and that there are efforts to form a real international will towards the implementation of UN resolutions.
The US officials also stressed the importance of the SOC’s permanent presence in New York and Washington in intensifying such meetings and ensuring a more participatory process between the SOC and the Syria team in the US State Department and the White House.
(Source: SOC’s media department)