Rights Group: Russia Killed 71 Civilians & Displaced 270,000 Since Start of World Cup

An independent human rights group issued a special statement on the gravest violations Russian have committed in Syria since the beginning of the 2018 World Cup it is currently hosting. It noted that by hosting the tournament, Russia is seeking to present itself as a civilized country spreading love and joy among the countries of the world through hosting the World Cup.

The Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) said that the Russian forces have killed 71 civilians, including 20 children and nine women since the start of the World Cup on June 10. Russia has also committed at least eight massacres and attacked 14 vital civilian centers, including five healthcare facilities since June 10.

According to figures compiled by the monitoring group, Russian forces used incendiary munitions, an internationally prohibited weapon, in two attacks on populated areas. The violations and the bombardment caused the displacement of nearly 270,000 civilians, most of them in Dara’a province. The Network said that Russia reneged on all agreements it reached with residents of these areas.

“As the opening ceremony of the World Cup kicked off, and while the attention of the world was on the opening game of the Russian team, Russian forces were preparing to launch a barbaric attack on the Syrian south. The onslaught on southern Syria came despite that the region was covered by the ‘de-escalation zones’ agreement concluded by Russia itself. Russia violated the agreement just as it did in others areas across Syria.”

The Network called on journalists and rights activists around the world to highlight the crimes the Russian forces have been committing in Syria since the start of the World Cup and to re-emphasize that the host country has killed thousands of civilians in Syria.

The statement noted that Russia has killed at least 6,187 Syrian civilians since the start of its aggression on Syria, including 1771 children and 670 women. The victims were documented in the Network’s database with all the details such as the date and place of the attacks as well as photos and videos.

(Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department / 13.07.2018)

Syrian Coalition Meets Swedish & Ivorian Ambassadors to Discuss Onslaught on Syria

The Syrian Coalition’s Department of Foreign Affairs held two separate meetings in the Turkish capital Ankara with Sweden Ambassador Lars Wahlund and Cote d’iIvour Ambassador Yacouba Atta. The meetings discussed the latest developments on the ground in Dara’a province and the latest political developments regarding the issue of the drafting of a new Syrian constitution.

Head of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Abd al-Ahad Steifo talked about the series of mass forced displacement being carried out by the Assad regime against civilians in different parts of Syria. He urged Sweden and Côte d’Ivoire, both non-permanent members of the UN Security Council, to support the Syrian people’s demands for freedom and dignity.

Steifo urged Sweden, which will preside over the UN Security Council next month, to support the taking of a firm stance towards the war crimes being committed by the Assad regime against civilians and put an end to the international community’s failure to take legal responsibility towards the protection of civilians.

Steifo stressed the need to provide humanitarian and relief assistance to the displaced people, especially in southern Syria where over 300,000 people have been displaced in recent weeks, according to United Nations.

Moreover, Steifo stressed that the Coalition’s serious engagement in negotiations to reach a political solution was met by insistence of the Assad regime to pursue a bloody security and military solution. He noted that the formation of a Constitutional Committee tasked with drafting a new constitution is key to bring about real political transition and the establishment of a state that is based on the rule of law.

(Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department / 11.07.2018)

Meeting with Sweden Ambassador Lars Wahlund
Meeting with Sweden Ambassador Lars Wahlund

UN Security Council Once Again Fails to Stop Carnage Against Civilians in Dara’a

The UN Security Council once again failed to stop the carnage civilians in Syria, particularly in Dara’a province by the Assad regime forces and their allies. Vice-President of the Syrian Coalition, Badr Jamous, said that the indifference being shown by the international community towards the tragedy of the Syrian people would remain a dark stain on humanity’s conscience.

An emergency session of the Security Council on the situation in Syria’s south ended Thursday evening without any results. The session was held in parallel with relentless Russian airstrikes on the town of Saida in eastern rural Dara’a resulting in the death of a family of a mother and four children.

Jamous called upon the United Nations to hold Russia, Iran and the Assad regime responsible for the war crimes against Syrian civilians as he stressed the need to activate the international neutral mechanism to hold war criminals accountable.

During the UN Security Council meeting, which was convened at a request by Sewden, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed his deep concern at the devastating impact of the military campaign being launched by Assad forces and the Iranian terrorist militias with Russian aerial support in southern Syria.

UN Spokesman Stéphane Dujarric on Thursday said that an estimated 750,000 lives in southern Syria are in danger, adding that more than 320,000 people are now displaced and most are living in dire and insecure conditions.

Jamous condemned all crimes taking place against civilians in Dara’a, stressing that the regime’s onslaught on the province is part of the demographic change and mass forced displacement policy it has pursued elsewhere in Syria. He pointed that the regime’s strategy is aimed at disrupting political solution in Syria.

(Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department / 06.07.2018)

President Mustafa Meets Georgia’s Ambassador & Stresses Importance of Strengthening Bilateral Relations

President of the Syrian Coalition Abdurrahman Mustafa met with the Georgia’s Ambassador to Ankara Irakli Koplatadze and the Georgian General Consul in Istanbul Inga Kikvadze and discussed with them the latest political and field developments in Syria.

The two sides agreed that both the Syrian and Georgian peoples suffer from the crimes being committed by Russia against civilians and its support for illegitimate regimes with the aim of preventing them from gaining their freedom and dignity.

Mustafa pointed out that what is going on in southern Syria is like “doomsday,” adding that Russia is pursuing a scorched-earth policy against civilians to impose its conditions. He warned that the Assad regime and Russia are seeking to forcibly displace the local population of Dara’a just as they did in other areas in Syria.

Mustafa denounced the Assad regime’s recognition of the independence of Georgia’s breakaway regions Abkhazia and South Ossetia as a violation of international law, expressing support for the sovereignty and independence of Georgia and its territorial integrity.

Mustafa pointed out that the Assad regime is “illegitimate and all its decisions and positions are illegitimate for us.” He pointed out that “the Assad regime takes its decisions under orders from Russia as it has became a mere pawn in the hands of the Russian administration.”

“Over the past seven years, the Syrian people have been well aware of the Russian position and its operations aimed at killing others. What the Georgians are facing now is the same our people have been facing for more than seven years,” Mustafa added.

Mustafa expressed his support for the Georgian people as he expressed hope that Georgia will do the same. The two sides reaffirmed their determination to strengthen bilateral relations and cooperation in a way that serves the interests of the Syrian and Georgian peoples.

Mustafa called upon the Georgian government to appoint a special representative to Syria in order to strengthen the bilateral relationships and ensure continued communication.

(Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department / 05.07.2018)

President Mustafa Discusses Deteriorating Situation in Syria’s South With French Delegation

President of the Syrian Coalition Abdurrahman Mustafa received Yannick Tagand, Head of the Near East Department of France’s Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs and discussed with him the latest developments on the ground in Syria, especially in the south which is being subjected to a ferocious onslaught by the Assad regime and its allies. The assault has so far killed hundreds and displaced hundreds of thousands of people.

“The situation in the south is very extremely dire,” President Mustafa said, adding that the current situation was expected given the “failure of the international community to protect civilians in previous regime onslaughts and its leaving them an easy prey for the criminals and their backers.”

Mustafa said that the Syrian people have been left alone to face the authoritarian regimes after chanting for freedom and democracy. “We counted on our partners in democracy to help us, but the response was unfortunate.”

“It became clear the size of inaction and indifference that has been shown towards the plight of the Syrian people. One cannot talk about the crimes of the murderer when this murder is left at large.” Mustafa pointed out that Washington’s position on what is happening in Dara’a reflects lack of seriousness and its real attitude towards the Syrian people’s aspirations for freedom dignity.

Mustafa stressed that the international community has legal responsibility to protect civilians from barbaric bombings and military attacks against residential areas and infrastructure.

Mustafa pointed out that the number of people who were displaced in Dara’a confirmed that the Assad regime was committing war crimes in that part of Syria. He warned that the ongoing onslaught would result in mass forced displacement and demographic change.

“Here lie the dangers of Law No. 10 for which we addressed more than 40 countries to warn of its possible repercussions and to inform them of the goals and intentions of the regime.”

Mustafa underscored that the military logic of the Assad regime and its allies is worthless and is not capable of changing the international resolutions calling for bringing about full political transition. “The Syrian people have not given up and are still demanding freedom and democracy. We hope you will join us in furthering these demands.”

(Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department / 04.07.2018)

Syrian Coalition Discusses Ways to Safeguard Property of Displaced Syrians as Preliminary Measure Against Law 10

The National Commission on the Affairs of the Displaced People and Refugees, which has recently been formed by the Syrian Coalition, held a teleconference with heads of the provincial councils in Damascus and Aleppo Governorates to discuss the major challenges facing the people who were forcibly displaced by the Assad regime.

Head of the Commission Fadi Ibrahim said that the Coalition would spare no effort to ensure that the return of refugees is considered a legitimate, basic right that should not be subject to negotiations as well as to ensure their rights to safely return to their areas and homes.

He pointed out that the Coalition has already began extensive work in this regard, adding that the Coalition formed a special work group for this purpose in Geneva and distributed a special booklet on the possible implications and dangers of Law No. 10.

Ibrahim stressed the necessity of asserting the rights of the forcibly displaced persons and refugees, especially civilians’ property through the establishment of a database of all civilians who left their homes and areas because of the regime’s threats. He described this as an important step to confront Law 10 through which the Assad regime is seeking to perpetuate forced displacement and demographic change.

The Coalition’s political committee established the National Commission on the Affairs of the Displaced People and Refugees with the aim of working to protect the rights and property of the displaced Syrians and to convey their voices and demands.

The Commission also works to inform States, organizations, bodies and associations of the reality of the displaced people and refugees as well as to mobilize international support through the holding of workshops highlight their situation in refugee and IDPs camps.

(Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department / 02.07.2018)

Dozens of Civilians Killed in Barrel Bombings by Assad in Dara’a Friday

Dozens of civilians, including women and children, were killed and dozens more were wounded in barrel bomb attacks by the Assad regime in Dara’a province on Friday. The Syrian Coalition warned that the war crimes the Assad regime is committing in southern Syria undermine all chances of a political solution.

Office for the Documentation of Victims in Dara’a province said that about 20 civilians, including a child and two women, were killed in airstrikes and artillery shelling on western rural Dara’a.

Local activists said that the Assad regime stepped up barrel bombing of the rebel-held areas in the past 48 hours. The attacks targeted Dara’a city as well as the towns of Nawa, Tafas, Quheil, Al-Musaifra, and Umm Al-Mayathin. The town of Naiema was hit with a land-to-land missile.

President of the Syrian Coalition, Abdurrahman Mustafa, said that “Dara’a was under fire,” pointing out that “a large part of the people of Dara’a fled their homes to escape the bombardment.”

“Russian jets are burning people and stone, while the Iranian and Assad militias are committing war crimes,” Mustafa said. He questioned the commitment of the friends of the Syrian people to support the FSA groups and stand on the side of the Syrian people in their struggle to regain freedom and dignity.

(Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department / 01.07.2018)

Syrian Coalition Holds Several Meetings at UN & Human Rights Council to Expose Assad Regime’s Atrocities in Dara’a

A member of the Syrian Coalition said that the ongoing onslaught against civilians in Dara’a is part of a litany of war crimes being committed by the Assad regime with the help of Russia and Iran. He stressed that the Assad regime’s capture of new territory will not change the reality of the political process aimed at achieving full political transition in Syria in accordance with the Geneva Communique of 2012 and UN Security Council resolution 2254.

At a meeting with members of the team of the UN special envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura and officials of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, member of the Coalition’s political committee, Yasser al-Farhan called for serious intervention by the United Nations to stop the Assad regime’s onslaught on Dara’a. He also called for the UN to shoulder its responsibilities and prevent the mass forced displacement of residents of Dara’a province.

Al-Farhan stressed that the Assad regime and its allies have never been serious about the political process as they insisted on pursuing a bloody military solution in Syria. “We made this point clear in all our meetings with the United Nations officials and our friends, but our calls and warnings have all fallen on deaf ears.”

Al-Farhan urged the UN officials to put an end to the ongoing violations by the PYD militia against civilians, stressing that the wholesale violations in Syria “must not be tolerated.”

Moreover, Al-Farhan highlighted the dangers of Law No. 10 which has been recently issued by the Assad regime. He called for preventing the implementation of the law as it represented “encroachment on the rights and property of the people who have been forcibly displaced from their areas of origin. He also strongly condemned all decrees and legislations issued by the Assad regime under request from Iran which seeks to serve its expansionist project in Syria.

(Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department / 29.06.2018)

Farhan in UN Human Rights Council: We Must Work to Release Detainees in Assad’s Prisons

Member of the Syrian Coalition’s political committee Yasser al-Farhan said that the Assad regime is responsible for committing thousands of crimes against Syrian civilians through arbitrary detention, kidnapping, and torturing them to death.

Al-Farhan was speaking at a special session on arbitrary detention and enforced disappearances in Syria that was organized by the Euro-Syrian Democratic Forum and the No Peace Without Justice organization on the sidelines of the 38th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland.

Al-Farhan, who is also Head the Syrian National Commission on Detainees and Missing Persons (SNCDMP), recently formed by the Syrian Coalition, stressed that detainees in the prisons of the Assad regime are subjected to systematic, brutal torture claiming the lives of tens of thousands of political Syrian dissidents.

The Assad regime did not comply with international resolutions or international conventions calling for the prevention of arbitrary arrest, torture and ill-treatment, al-Farhan said. He added that the Assad regime continued the mass arrests and kidnappings despite the fact that almost all UN Security Council resolutions condemned arbitrary detention, torture, physical liquidation and enforced disappearance against civilians in Syria. They also called for the immediate cessation of such practices and the release of all arbitrarily detained persons.

Al-Farhan said that the formation of the SNCDMP aims to help independent human rights organizations and international organizations to take tangible, practical measures to ensure the release of detainees.

“The issue of detainees is one of the most essential issues. We will not accept that it is used as a bargaining chip. We must not forget this issue nor will we accept that it is postponed until after a political solution is reached.” Al-Farhan also stressed the need to ensure accountability and not to link it to obstacles to the political solution.

(Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department / 28.06.2018)

Coalition Meets With Representatives of Syria Friends to Discuss Assad & Russia’s Onslaught in Syria’s South

President of the Syrian Coalition Abdurrahman Mustafa and Head of the Syrian Interim Government (SIG) Jawad Abu Hatab met with representatives of a group of friendly countries of the Syrian people. Both sides discussed the latest developments on the ground in Syria and the fresh military attacks being launched by the Assad regime and Iranian terrorist militias against civilians in southern Syria.

Participants in the meeting, which was also attended by members of the Coalition’s political committee, discussed the mass forced displacement operations being carried out by the Assad regime against civilians in different areas across Syria. They also discussed Law No. 10 and its possible implications for countries hosting Syrian refugees. The discussions also included ways to support the Syrian Interim Government and its projects to provide basic service for the civilian population in the liberated areas.

President Mustafa said that the regime’s escalating attacks have caused mass displacement of civilians in southern Syria, stressing that attacks against civilians constituted war crimes requiring urgent international action to stop them.

President Mustafa pointed out that the Coalition utterly rejects the implementation of Law No. 10 as it is aimed at the consolidation of mass forced displacement and demographic change.

The Coalition is continuing to implement its plan to strengthen its presence in the liberated areas and activate the work of the institutions of the Syrian Interim Government to provide services to the civilian population, President Mustafa said. The Coalition is also seeking to form local councils of the local population to manage the affairs of people in the liberated towns and villages.

For his part, Jawad Abu Hatab said that after two years of work in the liberated areas, the Syrian Interim Government has become a reality. “Our top priority was to provide services in the areas of education, health and local councils. We also sought to achieve stability and prepare the population for a political process.”

The Syrian Interim Government is now focusing on seven key issues, namely the police, the judiciary and the adoption of a Syrian law, the Free Syrian Army, the civil prison administration, the national statistical office, the expansion of vocational and higher education, and the provision of essential services, especially in construction and the rehabilitation of roads, Abu Hatab said.

Bashar al-Zoabi, representative of the Southern Front in the Syrian Coalition, stressed that the Assad regime and Russia are committing widespread war crimes in the province of Dara’a. “The situation in Dara’a province is dangerous. We contacted most of the friendly countries and sent them letters via the Coalition and the Syrian Negotiations Commission, but unfortunately the regime continues with its military campaign against civilians in the region. There is a large wave of mass displacement of civilians, with numbers that may reach unprecedented levels in the coming few days should violations of the regime continue.”

For her part, Vice-president of the Syrian Coalition, Dima Moussa, warned that the mass forced displacement and demographic change operations as well as the regime’s issuance of Law No. 10 will have a direct impact on the political process and political transition, especially with the regime’s confiscation of civilian property. She underscored that Law No. 10 risks discouraging the return of displaced persons and refugees to their homes, adding that the issuance of the law “proved that the Assad regime is not serious about engaging in the political process.”

Hadi al-Bahra, member of the political committee, said: “We are focusing not only on forming the Constitutional Committee, but also on its work. This Committee should be part of the Geneva process and under the auspices of the United Nations.”

Bahra stressed that the Constitutional Committee “must be a step towards the implementation of UN Security Council resolution 2254 and not an attempt to circumvent the resolution. The Committee must also be a step towards real political transition.”

(Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department / 25.06.2018)