Syrian Opposition Coalition
November 17, 2021
The Syrian Opposition Coalition’s (SOC) General Assembly held its 59th session in Istanbul on 15-16 November. The Assembly began the session with observing a minute of silence for the fallen heroes of the Syrian revolution, chief among them is the late FSA commander Abdul Qadir Al-Saleh as the anniversary of his departure coincided with the date of the session. SOC’s President Salem Al-Meslet gave an opening speech, after which he submitted work reports on the past two months, including the reports by the Presidency, vice-president, and the General Secretariat.
In his briefing, Al-Meslet expressed the SOC’s appreciation for the principled positions of sisterly and friendly countries regarding the crimes of the Assad regime, the necessity of holding it accountable, and preventing any step towards its legalization or rehabilitation. He praised the European decision to impose additional sanctions on the regime, adding that additional steps must be taken by working on establishing an effective international mechanism with practical procedures with a specific time frame in order to ensure an end to the ongoing carnage in Syria and the suffering of tens of thousands of detainees in the Assad regime’s prisons, ensuring the safe return of refugees and IDPs, and enforcing UN resolutions, especially UN Resolution 2254.
Al-Meslet briefed the SOC’s members on the results of his recent visits and meetings, concluding his speech on the need to follow up and activate all projects related to the work of the SOC’s departments and committees, and to increase communication with the components represented by the SOC’s members.
The SOC’s vice-presidents and Secretary-General also presented their briefings in which they submitted their work reports during the specified period.
The General Assembly reviewed in detail the reports of the Syrian Interim Government, the Syrian Negotiations Commission, the Constitutional Committee, the Recovery Trust Fund, the Assistance Coordination Unit, the political committee, the SOC’s committees, departments, and offices, and the SOC’s foreign missions.
SIG’s ministers gave a detailed overview on the major activities and achievements of the ministries and the difficulties they face. They also opened a wide discussion about SIG’s activities at various levels.
President of the Syrian Negotiations Commission, Anas Abdah, gave an overview on the major developments in the political process, including the recent communications he had with European and US officials who promised to maintain pressure on the Assad regime.
Co-chair of the Constitutional Committee, Hadi Al-Bahra, gave an overview on the current reality of the political process, the reasons for its deadlock, and disruption by the regime. He stressed the need to restore the momentum to the Syrian revolution and to do everything that would advance the political solution and implement UN resolutions.
The Assembly reviewed the reality on the ground and the military situation, especially the developments in Idlib, the crimes that Russia, the regime, and Iran’s militias continue to commit, the SOC’s role in the current stage, the ongoing preparations and raising the combat readiness of the Syrian National Army for any possible military operation.
The General Assembly approved the decisions of the political committee that it had taken in the last period. It also voted to name two new ministers in the Syrian Interim Government: Brigadier-General Hassan al-Himmada as Minister of Defense, and Judge Habboush Latta as Minister of Justice.
The General Assembly stressed the need for all ministries and institutions of the revolutionary forces to improve competencies, follow up on plans, implement all assigned tasks, measure the extent of achievement of goals, support programs and activities, provide more services in all liberated areas, and strengthen relations with civil society organizations and NGOs.
Members of the SOC in the liberated areas gave an overview on the reality and activities of the SOC’s office there, and the continuous communication with various segments of society, institutions and civil society organizations, in addition to continuous communication with notables and people.
Moreover, the General Assembly discussed the plight of the Syrian asylum seekers stranded at the Belarusian-Polish border. It recommended urgent action at the level of the United Nations, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, and the European Union to resolve the crisis and stop the suffering of refugees, in addition to holding meetings with the ambassadors of Belarus and Poland in Ankara, and arranging an urgent visit to Poland to closely follow the matter.
The Assembly particularly focused on the report of the National Commission for the Affairs of Detainees and Missing Persons, especially with regard to the follow-up on the ongoing cases of arrest and enforced disappearance and death under torture, especially of returnees to the regime’s areas.
The Assembly also checked the implementation of previous proposals and ideas with the aim of drawing more international intention to this issue, conveying the voice of detainees to the world, and examining what has been achieved in this context.
The Committee for the Restitution of Rights gave an overview on its work in the previous period. The General Assembly stressed the importance of imposing the rule of law on everyone and the need to dispatch independent committees to listen to opinions, follow up on any abuses and investigate them in a transparent and impartial manner so as to ensure the law enforcement and justice for all.
The principle of collective action, working as one hand, and reaching out to all forces of the revolution and the opposition has become one of the central issues of the SOC. The Assembly stressed the importance of this principle today more than ever, and the need to benefit from all expertise and capabilities in a way that contributes to strengthening the course of the revolution. This principle is key to achieving the aspirations of the Syrian people, namely to get rid of tyranny, achieve freedom and independence, and build a modern democratic civil state for all citizens.
May our wounded recover, our detainees be free, and our fallen heroes rest in peace.
Long live Syria and the Syrian people, free and with honor.