The Syrian Coalition invited 15 Russian journalists to make interviews with Coalition officials, FSA representatives, and Syrian civil society organizations as part of a plan by the Coalition Media Department to reach out to world public opinion and make clear the Coalition’s and FSA’s views on the latest political and military developments in Syria.
Ahmed Ramadan, Coordinator of the Coalition’s Media Department, said that the journalists represent a number of major Russian media outlets, adding that the move aims to draw world public opinion closer to the Syrian revolution.
The Russian journalists will meet with President of the Coalition Anas Alabdah, Vice-president Abdul Ahad Steifo, Secretary-General Abdul Ilah Alfahad, members of the Coalition’s political and legal committees, and representatives of the Free Syrian Army.
In a meeting with the Russian press delegation on Saturday, Ramadan said that the Assad regime responded to the revolution with brutal crackdown even though he admitted the revolution remained peaceful throughout the first six months. Assad’s security forces killed over 3,000 peaceful demonstrators during this period, Ramadan said, adding that regime forces summarily executed 2,885 unarmed civilians, including 200 children, between 2012 and 2013.
In 2013, Assad used chemical weapons in the Damascus suburb of eastern Ghouta, killing 1,400 civilians, mostly children and women, Ramadan added. He pointed out that Assad’s policies nurtured all forms of terrorism and paved the way for the rise of ISIS. He noted that Assad imported mercenaries from over 40 Iraqi, Afghan, Lebanese, and Yemeni militias to fight alongside his forces.
Ramadan warned that Putin’s support for Assad risks endangering friendly relations that exist between the Syrian and Russian peoples, citing Russia’s vetoing of four UN Security Council resolutions drafted to condemn the crimes of the Assad regime. He said that the Russian air force has so far killed over 3,000 Syrian civilians and continues to use internationally banned weapons in its ongoing bombing campaign on Syria.
Ramadan reiterated the Coalition’s commitment to a political solution, stressing that the Coalition responded positively to all UN Security Council resolutions on Syria, especially the Geneva 2012 Communique. Putin and Assad continue to refuse to abide by international resolutions issued to find a political solution through their military escalation and continued massacring of Syrian civilians, he stressed. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Office)