Hijab: Humanitarian Situation in Syria Must Improve

Riad Hijab, general coordinator of the opposition’s High Negotiating’s Committee (HNC), reiterated the need to enforce UN Security Council resolutions on Syria, especially Articles 12 and 13 of UNSCR 2254 which are related to purely humanitarian issues.

At a news conference in London on Wednesday, Hijab said that before resuming the Geneva talks, it is imperative that measures on the ground are taken, most importantly lifting the sieges, releasing detainees, stopping attacks on residential areas and the delivery of aid to civilians in need.

“The Russians and the Iranians employ a scorched earth policy through the intensification of bombardment to weaken the morale of rebel fighters. However, rebel leaders who I met yesterday in Ankara demonstrated very high morale and told me with confidence that the regime’s recent gains are fragile and that its forces will not be able to maintain control over the areas they have lately captured,” Hijab added.

Hijab, who heads a HNC delegation on an official visit to Britain, pointed out that “in the coming days you will hear and see rebel gains against regime forces backed by sectarian militias and mercenaries,” adding that the Syrian opposition has “many other options.”

For his part, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said after meeting with Hijab and the accompanying delegation that “Russia and the regime are deliberately targeting the opposition and thus strengthening Daesh (ISIS). Their actions against civilian populations and infrastructure are in breach of international humanitarian law.”

Hammond reaffirmed that “the UK’s position remains steadfast: a Syrian-led political transition and a genuine commitment to the UN-led peace talks are the only route to the peace so desperately needed by the Syrian people.”

“In my meeting with Dr Hijab, I reaffirmed my support for the Syrian Opposition’s Higher Negotiations Committee. We agreed on the need to bring an urgent end to the suffering in Syria, for the regime and Russia to end attacks on civilians immediately, and for full humanitarian access to be granted to besieged areas,” Hammond said.

No fewer than 74 civilians across Syria, including 13 children and 3 women, were killed in Russian airstrikes on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir on Wednesday said that the Kingdom is ready to send special ground forces to Syria in the event the US-led coalition against ISIS decided to deploy ground forces in the fight against the extremist group. He reiterated Saudi Arabia’s commitment to providing everything they could to take out the tyrant and establish a future for Syria without Bashar al-Assad.

Jubeir stressed that Saudi Arabia is keen to preserve state institutions in Syria, pointing out that there is a “Plan B” in case the political process fails in Syria.

(Source: Syrian Coalition + Agencies / 11.02.2016)

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