November 12, 2018
The Syrian Coalition’s General Assembly held its 42nd session in Istanbul on 10-11 November, 2018. The Assembly discussed the reports which were submitted by President of the Syrian Coalition Abdurrahman Mustafa, Head of the Syrian Negotiations Commission Nasr al-Hariri, the political committee, the General Secretariat and the various departments of the Coalition. The Assembly took the appropriate decisions with regards to these reports. It also discussed the reports submitted by head of the Syrian Interim Government Jawad Abu Hatab and Head of the Assistance Coordination Unit. Members of the Assembly stressed the importance of giving priority to finding ways to improve services being provided for civilians inside Syria. They also discussed the establishment of mechanisms for action and coordination amongst the institutions of the revolution with regards to the governance of areas that are outside the control of the Assad regime.
The Coalition condemns the Assad regime forces’ violations of the cease-fire agreement which was reached in Sochi on September 17, 2018 by Turkey and Russia and which brought fighting in Idlib and adjacent areas to an end. It calls upon all parties to fully and strictly abide by the agreement and to implement its terms, especially with regards to the violations carried out by the Assad regime and its allies on a daily basis.
The meeting also discussed several important issues, including the issue of detainees which has not yet received enough international attention that is needed to achieve progress in this issue. The Syrian Coalition, therefore, decided to step up efforts in this regard and to coordinate with the various institutions of the revolution and civil society organizations with the aim of following up on this issue with the sisterly countries, especially with Turkey in view of its important relations within the Astana Group. The Coalition also decided to request the prioritization of this issue during the upcoming meeting of the Astana Group. It stresses the need to focus on the need to exert pressure to stop the execution of the innocent detainees and to intensify communication with the relevant international organizations, starting with the United Nations, in this regard.
Participants in the meeting highly applauded the activities of civil society organizations and human rights activists in following up on the issues of accountability and justice. They particularly commended the success in the filing of lawsuits by victims of the regime’s crimes. The lawsuits led to the acceptance of the prosecution and formal accusations by European courts against the regime officials who issued orders or took part in such crimes. The Coalition is intensifying its efforts with several countries to push for the formation of an independent international investigation mechanism through the UN General Assembly.
Moreover, the Coalition also discussed the latest developments in the political process and the convening of the Constitutional Committee. It also discussed the continuous obstruction of its formation by the Assad regime and its backers and their insistence on obstructing the role of the United Nations in this regard. The participants stressed the important role of the UN as the basis of the political process in Geneva which is sponsored and facilitated by the United Nations as the sole reference to the Constitutional Committee. Participants stressed the importance of intensifying communications with all regional and international parties to ensure commitment to fully implement UN Security Council Resolution 2254 and the Geneva Communique of June 30, 2012 with all its articles and without any reduction and according to the sequence of the items contained in the Communique.
Nasr Al-Hariri gave a detailed overview of the latest developments in the political process, including the details of his recent visit to Moscow and his meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. He also spoke about the issues he discussed in his meetings, including the future of the political process and the importance of the launch of the work of the Constitutional Committee as well as the situation in Idlib following the signing of the Idlib agreement which averted a military operation in the region. Hariri also reviewed the challenges facing the Syrian Negotiations Commission and the steps it is preparing to take for the next phase.
Tabled for discussion was also the situation in al-Rukban IDPs camp. It was agreed to continue communications with international actors to alleviate the suffering of IDPs and find appropriate solutions.
Regarding the situation on the ground, the participants reviewed to the reports on the situation in Al-Raqqa province, especially the suffering of the civilian population and the violations taking place there, especially the recent assassination of Sheikh Bashir Faisal Al-Huwaidi.
The Coalition also discussed the abuses taking place in the Afrin region and other parts of the liberated areas and agreed to make the necessary contacts with the active players on the ground to take the necessary measures.
The General Assembly thanks the countries that have begun to accept the expired Syrian passports and allow their holders to move freely as it hopes that other countries will follow suit to prevent the Assad regime from further exploiting this issue to put more financial and political pressure on the Syrian people.
May our wounded recover, our detainees and the kidnapped be free, the fate of the missing be disclosed, the displaced return safely, and our fallen heroes rest in peace.
May the revolution for freedom and dignity emerge victorious.