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Syrian Coalition Holds Workshop on Restoration of Stability & Services Residents of Afrin

The Syrian Coalition, in cooperation with the Syrian Interim Government (SIG), the Free Aleppo Governorate Council, and Afrin’s Local Council, held a workshop with the aim of assessing the needs of the civilian population of Afrin. The workshop also discussed ways to provide support and meet the basic needs of civilians as well as to rehabilitate service institutions in the region.

Participants in the workshop, which was held at SIG headquarters in the Turkish city of Gaziantep, included President of the Syrian Coalition Abdulrahman Mustafa and SIG’s Head Jawad Abu Hatab as well as representatives of friendly countries. The agenda of the workshop included a detailed explanation of the situation in Afrin by the Re-stabilization Committee and an overview of SIG’ efforts to restore services institutions to the region. Participants also discussed the role of donor countries in the next phase.

President Mustafa said that everyone has a responsibility to eliminate any threat posed by Bashar al-Assad as he called for a tougher international position against the Assad regime. He stressed that the international community must stop watching idly by as the Assad regime is committing the most heinous crimes against the Syrian people and repeatedly using chemical weapons and other internationally banned weapons.

President Mustafa urged all friendly countries to urgently help meet the basic needs of the residents of Afrin in coordination with SIG institutions and restore hope for a better future in the Afrin region.

The local council in Afrin is giving priority to the return of the displaced persons to their towns and villages, Mustafa said. He added that the council is working to restore stability to the region and restore infrastructure.

President Mustafa thanked representatives of the friendly countries for their efforts and continued support for the aspirations of the Syrian people for freedom and dignity. He also commended the role being played by the Turkish forces and the Syrian National Army in the preservation of the territorial integrity of Syria and freeing Afrin from the terrorist PYD militias.

Moreover, President Mustafa commended SIG’s efforts to provide services to the local population. He said that SIG’s teams have experience in local administration, the development of projects, and the provision of essential services to the population in addition to the rehabilitation and maintenance of infrastructure.

President Mustafa expressed hope for increased cooperation with friendly countries to provide SIG with sufficient support to implement projects aimed at easing the suffering of the civilian population.

(Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department + Agencies / 21.04.2018)

STATEMENT ISSUED BY SYRIAN ORGANIZATIONS

STATEMENT ISSUED BY SYRIAN ORGANIZATIONS WORKING IN THE FIELDS OF DOCUMENTATION, ACCOUNTABILITY AND TRANSITIONAL JUSTICE IN SUPPORT OF THE WORK OF (IIIM) 

Mustafa: Russia Must Change Course & Support Political Transition Without Assad

President of the Syrian Coalition Abdurrahman Mustafa called on Russia to press Bashar al-Assad to step down to allow the initiation of a genuine political process leading to full political transition in line with the Geneva Communiqué of 2012 and UN Security Council resolution 2254.

“We have always called on Moscow to be a neutral party and help ease the violence and transition the country to safety by seriously engaging in the political process aimed at the formation of a Transitional Governing Body (TGB) with full executive powers as was stipulated in international resolutions,” Mustafa said on Saturday.

“Russia has chosen to side with the Assad regime and encouraged him to kill more Syrians and commit various war crimes as well as shielded it against the consequences of the repeated use of chemical weapons,” Mustafa said. He stressed that “Moscow must change course and cooperate with members of the UN Security Council to put an end to the tragedy unfolding in Syria by forcing Assad to step aside and in engage in the political process.”

Regarding the missile strikes that targeted the Assad regime’s military positions at dawn on Saturday, Mustafa underscored that the Assad regime is not killing Syrian civilians with chemical weapons only, but also with conventional weapons. He noted that attacks with conventional weapons have killed hundreds of thousands of civilians.

Mustafa urged the United States, Great Britain and France to expand the military operation to include all the military positions of the Assad regime which have been used to bomb the Syrian civilians and kill their children and women over the past seven years.

The expansion of the missile strikes will force the Assad regime to seriously engage in the political process and to comply with the international resolutions forming the basis of political solution, Mustafa said. He also stressed the importance of holding Assad accountable for war crimes against civilians, especially after his involvement in the use of chemical weapons was confirmed.

(Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department / 15.04.2018)

Syrian Coalition Meets German and French Envoys to Discuss Possible Response to Douma Chemical Attack

The Syrian Coalition’s Department of Foreign Affairs met with officials of the German and French foreign ministries to discuss European and American preparations to respond to the Assad regime’s Saturday chemical attack on the town of Douma.

Member of the Department Anas Abda stressed the need to hold those responsible for the use of chemical weapons and perpetrators of war crimes in Syria accountable. He said that international resolutions, especially Article 21 of UN Security Council resolution 2118 called for the use of force against perpetrators of chemical weapons attacks.

Abda, who is also member of the Coalition’s political committee, said that punishing the perpetrators of war crimes would send a strong message to the Assad regime and its backers and bring the longstanding international inaction to an end. Punishment for these crimes will also reassert the need for serious engagement in the political process to achieve a political solution in accordance with the Geneva Communique of 2012 and UNSC Resolution 2254.

“We still count on our allies to save the lives of Syrian civilians from the brutal attacks being carried out by the Assad regime,” Abda said. He reaffirmed the Coalition’s commitment to a political solution as he emphasized the need for the international community to shoulder its role and force the Assad regime to stop its military campaigns and sit at the negotiating table.

The two sides also discussed the tour recently made by members of the political committee to the camps housing the people who were displaced from eastern Ghouta and other parts of the liberated areas.

Member of the political committee Hadi Al-Bahra warned of the consequences of the continuation of the series of mass forced displacement and demographic change operations in Syria. He pointed out that the people who were displaced from eastern Ghouta do not receive the sufficient support and need an emergency program to meet relief and emergency needs.

Bahra noted that the displaced are very keen on helping their children carry on with the reception of education. “During our meeting with the households who arrived recently from eastern Ghouta, we noticed they were keen on enabling their children to return to school after a long interruption.”

(Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department / 11.04.2018)

President Mustafa Sends Letter to UN & World Leaders Urging Action to Save Civilians from Assad Chemical Weapons

President of the Syrian Coalition Abdulrahman Mustafa sent a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, Secretary-General of the Arab League Ahmed Aboul Gheit as well as the leaders of 30 Arab and Western countries calling for urgent measures to put an end the repeated use of chemical weapons and hold Bashar al-Assad accountable.

President Mustafa warned of the consequences of allowing the Assad regime to carry on with the mass forced displacement of residents of many areas across Syria.

“We call upon you to mandate a comprehensive review of the OPCW’s program of dismantling Assad’s chemical arsenal to address urgently all the possible loopholes which allowed Assad to keep part of its weaponry so far,” the letter said.

Mustafa called for the establishment of an international emergency response program for the displaced people from eastern Ghouta and to assist the Syrian Interim Government (SIG) in the provision of urgent relief aid. He pointed out that the displaced people have been left to their fate without any humanitarian or relief aid.

Moreover, Mustafa underscored that the war crimes taking place against Syrian civilians must no longer be condoned.

“Failure to do so would not only give Syrian civilians, yet again, the extremely frustrating message that their suffering will continue to be tolerated and Assad’s crimes will continue to go unpunished, but it would also undermine the whole UN-sponsored political process making the likelihood of reaching a political solution more remote than ever.”

Mustafa pointed out that the repeated use of chemical weapons violated international resolutions and reflected total defiance of these resolutions. “This now established history of use of chemical weapons makes it clear that Assad has been emboldened by the unfortunate international inaction and absence of accountability.”

“Only justice, freedom and a new free Syria, the one they have been demanding since 2011 will help them heal and regain faith in the international system and mechanisms.”

Mustafa urged everyone to spare no effort to end the suffering of the Syrian people; hold the criminals accountable; and help Syrians fulfill their demands for freedom, dignity and justice.

(Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department / 09.04.2018)

Syrian Coalition Sends letter to Arab League on Assad Regime’s Mass Forced Displacement Operations

President of the Syrian Coalition Abdulrahman Mustafa sent a letter to Secretary-General of the Arab League, Ahmed Aboul Gheit to highlight the series of mass forced displacement operations being carried out by the Assad regime against the local population in various areas across Syria, the most recent of which took place in eastern Ghouta.

President Mustafa said that the war crimes did not stop in Syria. He strongly condemned the Assad regime and its allies’ employment of policies violating human rights, including killings, starvation and torture. He stressed that these tactics are aimed at crushing the Syrian people’s revolution and their demands for freedom and dignity.

President Mustafa also expressed his deep concern about the dire and mysterious situation surrounding Idlib province, which has become the destination for all the people who are being displaced from other areas. He pointed out that the province is now home to more than two million civilians.

Moreover, President Mustafa said that eastern Ghouta was subjected to the largest mass forced displacement operation in the wake of the ruthless onslaught by the Assad regime and Russia forces who used various types of weapons, including internationally prohibited ones in the bombing campaign in the Damascus suburb. He noted that the displaced people were humiliated and starved by pro-regime forces.

President Mustafa said that the situation in Idlib has become extremely dire as the new arrivals are being housed in overcrowded shelters and houses amid severe shortages of food and drinking water as well as lack of medical services.

He stressed that Syrian civilians continue to suffer as the situation on the ground has become catastrophic because of the failure of the international community to stop the waves of mass forced displacement; protect civilians; and enforce UN Security Council resolutions calling for the cessation of all hostilities and the delivery of humanitarian aid.

The Syrian Interim Government (SIG) has conducted a statistical study of the displaced people and has prepared an inventory of their needs in the reception sites, President Mustafa said. He called for the urgent provision of humanitarian and medical assistance for the IDPs via the Syrian Interim Government and in accordance with the needs listed in SIG’s report.

(Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department / 04.04.2018)

Syrian Coalition Urges Syria’s Friends Action to Relieve People Being Displaced from Eastern Ghouta & to Support Douma

The Syrian Coalition’s Department of Foreign Affairs sent an urgent letter to the Syrian people’s friendly countries urging them to urgently respond to the needs of people being displaced from the Damascus suburb of eastern Ghouta. The letter warned of dangers surrounding the fate of civilians in Douma as the Assad regime and Russia forces threatened to assault the town.

The letter, which was sent to 20 States, included a report that was prepared by the Syrian Interim Government and Assistance Coordination Unit detailing the essential needs of the people who are being displaced from eastern Ghouta. The letter called for the provision of urgent relief aid to be distributed by the Syrian Interim Government and Assistance Coordination Unit.

The Coalition warned that “the fate of 26,006 Forcibly Displaced Persons (FDPs) and IDPs to Idlib governorate, hangs in the balance with increasing need of humanitarian aid and limited shelter capacity, according to the UN OCHA evacuations tracking report.

“The situation in Idlib governorate is of a deep concern, with displaced housed in overcrowded collective shelters, and due to the critical humanitarian needs, particularly in relation to protection, food, health, nutrition, NFIs (non-food items) and WASH (Water And Sanitation for Health).

The report also said that the people being displaced from eastern Ghouta were subjected to arrests, kidnappings, and summary executions. It said that videos and photos showed civilians being humiliated during the distribution of some life-saving items as they were forced to chant for Assad in return for drinking water.

“Indeed, the suffering of the Syrian people continues, and the situation on the ground is catastrophic due to the failure of the international community to stop the waves of mass forced displacements, to protect the civilians in their homes, and to implement the UNSC resolutions which endorsed the cessation of hostilities agreement and the unfettered aid access.”

The letter warned that “Idlib governorate hosts more than two million civilians. If any barbaric attack similar to the one that took place in Eastern Ghouta during the last two months occurs, there will be a genuine disastrous situation.”

(Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department / 01.04.2018)

President Mustafa Urges UN Action in Response to Assad Regime’s Humiliation of People Being Displaced From Ghouta

The Assad regime forces executed a number of civilians, including a woman in the Damascus suburb of eastern Ghouta as heavy bombardment targeted the outskirts of the town of Douma.

Local activists said that pro-regime militants had executed four civilians, including a woman, and kidnapped women in the towns of Kafarbatna and Saqba following the withdrawal of rebel fighters to northern Syria.

President of the Syrian Coalition Abdulrahman Mustafa said that civilians who decided to stay in their destroyed areas than to be displaced are being subjected to revenge killings by the Assad regime’s militias.

Information coming from eastern Ghouta indicated that civilians who survived the brutal bombardment by the Assad regime and its allies are still in danger as Assad’s militias continue to commit war crimes in those areas, Mustafa said.

Mustafa called upon the UN Security Council and international organizations to force the Assad regime and its militias to respect international humanitarian law and to provide protection to civilians who chose to live amongst the rubble than to leave their homes.

Sectarian militias allied with the Assad regime carried out summary executions against 23 men and kidnapped five women in the town of Kafarbatna on Wednesday. Regime forces also detained 150 people in the town of Saqba, including head of Al-Bashaer relief aid group.

Eastern Ghouta has been the scene of the largest mass forced displacement and demographic change operations in Syria since 2011. These operations were preceded by large-scale war crimes against civilians by Assad regime and Russia forces who launched a ferocious onslaught on the area. Assad regime forces and their allies extensively used internationally banned weapons, such as chemical weapons, white phosphorus and napalm in blatant violation of international law.

The Syrian Civil Defense Corps said that 1,433 civilians were killed in eastern Ghouta as of March 24, adding that Assad regime forces, Russia and the Iranian militias used various types of weapons, including internationally banned ones in the assault on the besieged Damascus suburb.

(Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department / 30.03.2018)

Independent Study Accusing UN of Involvement in Killing & Starvation of Syrian Civilians

A study prepared by an independent Syrian studies center accused the United Nations of involvement in the humanitarian tragedy affecting various areas across Syria and that has already resulted in the deaths of dozens of civilians of hunger and lack of medical supplies. The study said that the United Nations bears primary responsibility for forcing Syrian civilians to leave their areas or agree to humiliating so-called reconciliation deals with the Assad regime.

The study, which was published on the website of the Al-Jisr TV channel on Thursday, said that the failure to enforce the humanitarian provisions of UN resolutions led to medical aid reaching barely 3.5 percent of those in need and to food aid reaching as few as 0.07 percent in 2015.

The study emphasized that international resolutions demanding the delivery of food and medical aid to those in need in the besieged areas did not require authorization or approval from the Assad regime. These resolutions indicated that the Assad regime needed only to be notified of the aid deliveries. They also demanded that the UN aid convoys should be protected as they passed through conflict lines and border crossings.

“The UN special envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura, has shifted from notifying the Assad regime to requesting permission from it,” the study added. “This renders the UN a partner in the starvation and siege of Syrian civilians as well as deaths resulting from lack of food and medical supplies which are being either blocked from entering the besieged areas or removed from the aid convoys that were given a permission to go ahead.”

The study wondered as to why the United Nations had walked out on the resolutions it passed on Syria especially after the Assad regime accused it of smuggling weapons in the aid convoys.

The Damascus suburb of eastern Ghouta was the scene of the largest mass forced displacement and demographic change in Syria by the Assad regime and Russia. The crime took place despite the adoption of UNSC resolution 2401 demanding a ceasefire in Syria, especially in eastern Ghouta and the delivery of humanitarian assistance to those in need.

The Syrian Coalition earlier stressed that the continued international inaction served as a green light for the Assad regime to carry out genocide in eastern Ghouta and other areas across Syria.

The Assad regime has used siege and starvation against the liberated areas for several years and committed large-scale war crimes against civilians. The Coalition demanded the referral of Syria to the International Criminal Court to hold all war criminals accountable.

(Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department / 30.03.2018)

Hakim Urges UN to Turn Words into Deeds by Holding Assad Accountable

Nazir al-Hakim, Secretary-General of the Syrian Coalition, called on the United Nations to turn its words into deeds and to achieve justice in Syria by holding Bashar al-Assad and all war criminals who committed war crimes and crimes against humanity accountable.

Hakim said that the latest remarks by the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres have been repeated numerous times without taking any action to achieve tangible change or deter the war criminals. “We hope that these words will be turned into deeds and will not remain mere threats.”

Hakim stressed that the diplomatic approach has proved ineffective as the Assad regime continues to openly flout international law and international humanitarian law with Russian direct support. He stressed the need for the UN Security Council member states to unite against Russia and take serious measures towards the implementation of UN resolutions 2401. The resolution demanded a 30-day ceasefire, the lifting of the sieges on, the delivery of humanitarian aid to those in need, the release of detainees, and the pushing of the political process ahead to establish a transitional governing body with full powers.

Hakim also underscored the need to activate Chapter VII of the UN Charter to implement international resolutions in Syria. He said that this is the only solution to save the lives of thousands of civilian victims and avert an uncertain future for children in light of the continued military campaigns by the Assad regime.

Hakim pointed out that the Coalition stands ready to cooperate with all United Nations bodies to provide all the necessary evidence for the prosecution of war criminals in Syria. He stressed that the international community should not remain silent about the repeated crimes against Syrian civilians.

(Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department / 28.03.2018)