Syrian Opposition Coalition
October 10, 2023
The Syrian Opposition Coalition (SOC) convened an emergency meeting on Monday to address the recent and barbaric military escalation by the Assad regime and its allies in Idlib province and the western countryside of Aleppo, which commenced approximately a week ago. The meeting commenced with a minute of silence in honor of the victims.
Participating in the meeting were Head of the Syrian Interim Government (SIG), Abdurrahman Mustafa, SIG’s ministers, including the Minister of Defense, Brigadier General Hassan Hamadeh, and representatives of the Syrian National Army. Also in attendance were Badr Jamous, President of the Syrian Negotiations Commission, Executive Director of the Assistance Coordination Unit, Muhammad Hasno, Member of the Civil Defense Board of Directors, Ahmed Yazji, Head of the Political Body in Idlib, Ahmed Al-Husseinat, and other members of the Political Body in Idlib.
The participants discussed a comprehensive action plan aimed at countering the military escalation by the Assad regime and its allies through a combination of political, military, and media strategies, focusing on exerting pressure to halt the brutal bombing campaign that targets civilians.
Brigadier General Hamadeh provided an extensive briefing on the most recent field and military developments, detailing military movements on various fronts, and outlining human and material losses stemming from the regime’s attacks. He emphasized that these ongoing attacks by regime forces, with the support of its allies, have targeted dozens of towns and villages in northwestern Syria, including crucial facilities such as hospitals, schools, and popular markets.
The Assistance Coordination Unit submitted a comprehensive report on the humanitarian situation, displacement movements, and ongoing response operations in the affected areas, with an emphasis on coordinating relief efforts effectively. Additionally, the Syrian Civil Defense provided updates on their efforts to respond to the resulting humanitarian disaster, highlighting their work to rescue the wounded, support the displaced, and extract individuals trapped under the rubble due to the bombing. Both organizations summarized their efforts to secure shelter centers for displaced individuals from the affected areas. The attendees reviewed the measures taken to address the damage resulting from these attacks and the action plan to counteract them.
SOC’s President, Hadi Al-Bahra, and the vice-presidents delivered a briefing on general developments on the ground and the political situation. Al-Bahra strongly condemned the regime’s current atrocities, characterizing them as new war crimes added to its already extensive record of crimes. He emphasized the urgent need for a decisive international stance and international measures to protect civilians while holding the Assad regime accountable for these crimes. This call came in the wake of the regime and its allies’ excessive use of internationally banned weapons, including incendiary white phosphorus, taking advantage of the concerning international silence regarding these war crimes.
Al-Bahra appealed to the UN Security Council to convene an emergency session to put an end to the bombing campaign against civilians in Idlib and the western countryside of Aleppo. He called on the Council to shoulder its responsibility for the crimes committed by Assad and his allies in Syria, and to take appropriate measures and decisions to implement a ceasefire, return to previous international agreements, and make progress in implementing UN Security Council Resolutions 2254 and 2118. Al-Bahra highlighted the ongoing communication with the Turkish government regarding field developments and Ankara’s efforts within the Astana group, which has issued warnings to halt fire and preserve civilian lives.
Regarding political efforts, Al-Bahra explained that the SOC had contacted the French Foreign Ministry to discuss these points and other related topics, including the situation of Syrian refugees in Lebanon. A SOC delegation is scheduled to visit Paris on Tuesday to meet with French officials and address these issues. This visit will be followed by several meetings with friendly countries that are permanent members of the Security Council and other member states to garner support for the SOC’s demands to convene an emergency session of the Security Council and increase United Nations relief support in these areas.
President Jamous discussed the Commission’s efforts in regional, Arab, and international communication. He noted that the United Nations, the Arab League, and active countries in the Syrian conflict had been urged to condemn the regime’s assault on northwestern Syria and immediately halt the attacks on civilians.
Before concluding, the presidential body provided an update on the organization of the political committee’s work, in addition to evaluating the achievements over the past period.
The attendees stressed that the only way to put an end to the recurring tragedy endured by the Syrian people is for the international community to fulfill its responsibilities and implement international resolutions, particularly UN Security Council Resolutions 2254 (2015) and 2118 (2013). This is essential to achieving a political solution based on a comprehensive political transition that can ensure sustainable security and stability. The goal is a Syria governed by justice, equality, and freedom, in which the principles of equal citizenship are upheld.
The attendees also expressed their solidarity with the Palestinian people and denounced the brutal bombings targeting Palestinians in Gaza. These attacks have led to the loss of life and injury to numerous civilians. They underscored the unity of the Syrian and Palestinian people’s demands for freedom, independence, and secure living conditions.