President of the Syrian Opposition Coalition (SOC), Nasr Al-Hariri, received the European External Action Service’s Chargé d’Affairs ad interim to Syria, Gilles Bertrand, and his accompanying delegation and discussed with them the latest on the ground and political developments in Syria.
In attendance were also SOC’s Vice-president Ruba Habboush, Coordinator of the Department of Foreign Relations Abdulahad Asteipho, and member of the political committee, Haitham Rahma.
Al-Hariri talked about the situation in the liberated areas and the efforts of the Syrian Interim Government to provide basic services for the civilian population, pointing out that achieving this task will be very difficult without the support of the international community.
Al-Hariri added that the Assad regime’s obstruction of the political process should not be a barrier to securing the livelihood of about five million citizens in Syria’s northwest, especially the nearly two million civilians living in IDPs camps.
Moreover, Al-Hariri talked about the health situation and the measures to confront the coronavirus pandemic, pointing out that SIG’s Ministry of Health is seeking with the help of friends of the Syrian people to secure vaccines for the population in the liberated areas.
He made it clear that the SOC and the SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research have been working on “The Syria Project” for the past several months in order to support efforts to restore stability in the region and provide essential services, especially in the areas of protection, governance, economy, development, security, combating terrorism and legal affairs. He indicated that the SOC discussed this project with a number of sisterly and friendly states, expressing his hope that it will discuss it with the European Union as well.
Furthermore, Al-Hariri indicated that there about 15 universities across the liberated areas, in addition to two branches of Turkish universities where nearly 50,000 students study. He stressed the importance of thinking about the future of students and universities as well as cooperating with European universities to obtain recognition of certificates.
Al-Hariri also talked about the political process, stressing that it has been stalled since 2014 as a result of the Assad regime’s refusal to seriously engage in it and its insistence on pursuing a military solution.
He also said that it is about time that the EU ratchet up pressure on Russia to force the Assad regime to sit at the negotiating table, stressing that the first step in the political process must be to establish a transitional governing body without which the political transition cannot be achieved.
He also called on the European Union to play a more active role in Syria. He said: “We do not want to write Syria off to the Russians and the Iranians.”
For his part, Bertrand talked about the European Union’s work to secure humanitarian aid as he expressed the EU’s concern over Russia’s continued blocking of the delivery of humanitarian aid through multiple crossings in northern Syria. He reiterated that Syria is still one of the European Union’s priorities.
Bertrand gave an overview on the upcoming Brussels conference on Syria, stressing its importance in keeping Syria on the international agenda. (Source: SOC’s Media Department)