Syrian Opposition Coalition – Syria
Department of Media and Communications
November 10, 2020
The Syrian Opposition Coalition (SOC) reaffirms its outright rejection of announcement by the Russian Ministry of Defense about its plans to hold a conference seeking to address the issue of Syrian refugees. Russia is calling for the conference while it continues to commit war crimes by bombing civilians in northwestern Syria. Violent Russian airstrikes forced the people of the town of Kafr Nouran in rural Aleppo to flee their homes earlier today.
Such conference cannot be organized by the criminal who is responsible for the crime, nor can it be organized without fulfilling the appropriate conditions for the return of refugees, most importantly an end to the bombing, achieving a political transition, and creating a safe environment for the voluntary and dignified return of refugees.
The Russian conference is nothing but an attempt to sponsor a new crime against the Syrian people as it aims to rehabilitate Assad under a veneer of a humanitarian initiative entitled ‘the return of refugees.’
The Russian occupation, its mouthpieces, its representatives and agents are the last ones entitled to talk about the Syrian issue, especially the issue of refugees. Its long litany of war crimes, mass forced displacement, breaches, escalation and violation of agreements summarizes what Russia is doing while presenting itself as a guarantor.
The Russian conference is an explicit circumvention of UN Security Council resolutions, especially the Geneva Communique of 2012 and UN Security Council Resolution 2254. Russia is clearly seeking to sidestep the fundamental requirements which must be implemented according to a specific timetable. Only when these requirements are met, the return of refugees will be safe, voluntary and dignified, as well as consistent with the standards of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
Russia’s exploitation of the issue of the return of the IDP and refugees is not new as it has always been on the Kremlin’s agenda. Russia’s ultimate goal is ensuring the survival of the Assad regime and imposing it on the Syrian people and the international community, as well as killing UN Security Council resolutions on Syria one after the another.
It is imperative that the international community take practical steps to enforce a political solution in Syria and confront Russia’s plans aimed at raising the issue of the return of refugees in preparation for raising the issue of reconstruction, which requires a set of conditions none of which is yet available, chief among them is the initiation of the political process to fully implement UN Security Council resolution 2254.