المرصد السوري لحقوق الانسان
The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

SOHR exclusive | Bashar al-Haj Aly, representative of Syrian Coalition with EU: No way for settlement that not abided by UN resolutions….. Syrian issue isn’t controlled by any Syrians either supporters or opponents

Calls of the United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Geir O. Pedersen to run an international dialogue about Syrian to unite the Syrian lines and lands, weren’t the first or the last calls as many other similar demands have been repeated recently for return to serious negotiations among the active players in Syria to achieve political settlement on bases of the UNSC resolutions.

The current Syrian regime even considered Pedersen calls are irrelevant and a continuation of a 2011 conspiracy, an opinion that has been condemned by the opposition inside and outside. The opposition stressed that solution would only be achieved through transitional ruling authority, exist of foreign forces and implementation of all the UNSC’s resolutions. Differences about such calls have only impacted the Syrian people who have been deported, displaced and fought with the humanitarian aid file like food, water and necessary requirements for living.

Bashar al-Haj Aly, former diplomat, politicians and representative of Syrian Coalition with the European Union told SOHR in an exclusive interview that the international community is responsible for applying the UNSC resolutions especially number 2254 and its items for establishing comprehensive credible rule for every one until Syria begins a political stages based on competition.

Question:  Remarkably, in the past few days, international activity and interests regarding the Syrian file have increased, as calls were repeated for speeding up the process of running international dialogue about Syrian, though similar dialogues haven’t stopped. But the matter has become dependent on the international willing and its seriousness to finding comprehensive solution for that ordeal. In your point of view, why that persistence to solve the Syrian crisis has been not active till today, and what is the importance of that dialogue if accomplished?

Answer: The Syrian issue for the Syrian people is a matter of human dignity and violating rights, but the issue has come out of the Syrian hands no matter the different place of residence of the opposition or the allies. The Syrian crisis has become a very difficult to settled issue because of the importance of the geopolitical location and the competition of the regional and the international powers to spray their influences.  

The Syrian issue is the most important political one since the eruption of the dignity revolution in March, 2011. In the past few months, the issues took big momentum for several reasons including moves of the new U.S. administration after forming a special team.  Moreover, the Russian failure in refloating the regime at the Arab and international levels along with the European stance that has many common factors with the U.S. one were other reasons for taking the whole issue to the international society again.

Additionally, the ongoing armed clashes seem to be difficult to be changed as Russia, Iran and the ruling regime want. They are also conflicting with Vienna negotiations over Iran nuclear file, as Iran attempts to use its presence in Syria as a tool to enhance its stance. Also, the regime financial and economic state is hindered to assume its duties or even provide the minimum level of necessary basic services, along with absence of the regime allies to provide help for several reasons including the sanctions of Caesar Law.

In light of those reasons and facts, the real conditions seemed cooked for finding political solution based on the UNSC resolution number 2254 as a guarantor for minimum level of the rights of Syrians. The political solution success is associated with achieving an international consensus the meet the Syrian people aspirations and there is no mean for making any settlement without international political moves that will lead to releasing prisoners, achieving security, stability and return of refugees and displaced.

Question: A UN special envoy to Syrian, not Pedersen, has spoken about the presence of five armies in Syria and three areas that are under influence of more players, stressing the conditions should be changed and he pledged to do this. Do you thing that it is easy amid the ongoing division to unite different lines for pushing for the political process and achieve settlement?

Answer: In presence of five armies, influence areas and foreign factions that are backed by countries on Syrian lands. There is no role for Syrian lines as every Syrian party is backed by foreign force and are not able to work independently away from the supporting sides.

Syrians don’t differ on the sovereignty and independence of Syria as an equal citizenship country with a democratic political system that is protected by a modern constitution. When speaking about all types of opposition and revolution forces, there are no fundamental differences, so commitment of the international community will be enough along with abiding with political stage that is based on enforcing the UNSC 2254 resolution.

There is no unified opposition even in the oldest democracies in the world, so an international consensus should be achieved with a Syrian deal which is possible because the Syrian people is looking forward for a state of law and to live in peace.

Question: In your opinion, do you think the west, the east and the international community have released that it is the right time to find a political solution for the Syrian crisis after ten years of domestic and foreign intervention, and such large number of victims and devastation without fall of Syria?

Answer: I think the international community, east and west, has tackled the Syrian cause as a country and people with the logic of the crisis management and achieving interests of each country amid momentum and intervention which means that the realization issue here is related to merely logic of interest that is governed with making more gains.

Settlement wouldn’t be cooked when the challenging forces fail to increase the gains and only became keen to preserve what have been accomplished after negotiations and compromises that its outputs might not be revealed. It is not hard for followers to observe the international consensus for preserving the country’s structure and prevent fall of the regime collapse which have pushed some to believe of winning especially head of the regime and its aid, which was obviously apparent during the ceremony of taking the oath and the exaggeration in the festivities, while al-Assad situation is not different than al-Gulani, SDF or armed factions.

Question: Turkey has condemned the French president, Emmanuel Macron, meeting with a delegation of the Autonomous Administration for Northeast Syria, and alleged that the meeting harm the security of Turkey national security and the exerted efforts for protecting the unity, regional safety of Syria, and guarantee stability in the region according to the foreign ministry statement. In your opinion, how could the international recognition of the Administrative Administration for Northeast Syria harm Ankara? Will the meeting hinder the goals and attempts of Turkey in the region, especially in Syria? 

Answer: The so-called Autonomous Administration for Northeast Syria is a military faction that includes non-Syrian foreigners and members registered on the terrorism lists. It is also accused of committing human rights violations like torturing and recruiting children. It couldn’t be internationally recognized or locally accepted because it cuts the Syrian lands while the regime and Iran are making advantages of smuggling oil and promoting security cooperation against the opposition. The Autonomous Administration for Northeast Syria also has been supported by the US. But such support wouldn’t be prolonged because Washington wouldn’t scarify its ties with Ankara. That faction also constitutes dangers on the unity of Syria, and safety of territories and endangers the national security of the regional countries as well as establish for struggle among the people of the region. Any meeting with such factions is wrong and wouldn’t lead to achieving peace.

Question: Special envoy of Russian President to Syria, Alexander Efimov, stressed the necessity to put an end for using methods of mass punishment of the Syrian people, expressing his hopes for withdrawal of the US and the Turkish forces very soon. Do you think the US and the Turkish forces could withdraw and achieve the Russian dread amid the ongoing complications and the presence of new balances and after the reproduction of the regime and the attacks against Washington bases in Syria?

Answer: It is normal that the Russian envoy demands lifting the sanctions amid inability to present aid to the regime, but such calls are not logic because the sanctions exclude all the humanitarian and medical needs.  So, they are calls for political biding while the Russians are transferring via their ships all tools of destruction and weapons that area tested on the Syrian civilians according to Russian military experts.

Meanwhile, the US and the Turkish withdrawal is farfetched issue at the short run. So, the solution should be focused on fostering the country’s stability with the presence of a trusted recognized government that doesn’t oppose any party. Despite of the US military presence, it is still limited and symbolic but its ability to move is very high because of its deployment in the region and thanks to its great potentials. In another meaning, such forces couldn’t exist its military presence except with reaching a political deal.

Question: A British investigative article that reported London has spent 477 million dollars to boost the Syrian opposition in five years has provoked wide argument. The article mentioned that the money was pumped to boost the armed opposition that has pushed for the destruction of Syria, what is your comment on the report and its authenticity?

Answer: I don’t think the report is accurate. Some countries have supported the armed factions for limited period for the sake of uprooting ISIS. The support has included light weapons and some training. Regardless my opinion about weapons, I think machineguns and weapons are not the factors of destroying the country. Air strikes and missiles that aren’t owned by the opposition have destroyed the country. The people couldn’t conspire, they uprise to meet their aspirations and fair demands.

Question: In your opinion, what are the weak points of the Syrian revolution?

Answer: Revolutions are not mistaken. They are moving in light of specific rules to change the society regardless the involving persons. The Syrian revolution has started with peaceful protests that were developed into popular uprising and then armed revolution and international conflict.

In the first and second stages of the peaceful protests and popular uprising, no political organizations were leading and the time wasn’t enough to produce leaders due to the absence of popular opposition and political parties or a national regime that contains the moves and helps in bringing leaders who can negotiate and held dialogue to preserve the presence of nation and citizens.

In the third stage, and due to the excessive use of weapons, the simple people responded without experience and without connection while cities and villages were besieged and demographic changes prevailed which has prevented the formation of a leadership and an organization. With the continuation of violence and military security solutions, the individual military divisions have started to appear which made it impossible to form a unified opposition armed force.

In that stage, the revolution has become in need of weapon and support to expand the control of the armed factions on wide areas and international borders. At this point the international forces intervened while the regime backing forces have become victims of the interference. No political organization has planned or lead the revolution and also the activists have lacked experience which make it very difficult to avoid the intervention or its escalation.

Question: Did the national Syrian opposition boosted the Syrian revolution, and to what extent it has succeeded despite differences? 

Answer: In Syria, there has been no opposition, but there have been some opposition activists who met in forums with limited numbers. In Syria, there is no place for real opposition, and if existed it won’t be spreading. I repeat again, the Syrian people agree on the necessity of democratic change while difference among the opposition forces is limited in its boundaries.

Question: In Kazakhstan capital, the guaranteeing countries for the Syrian dialogue (Russia, Turkey and Iran) on July 8, have agreed on continuing the cooperation for final ending of ISIS militants (outlawed by Russia) and other armed groups in Syria, and expressed their discontent over the illegal seizure of the Syrian oil revenues. Who looted the Syrian oil, and do you think that Washington, whose forces are based in north and east Syria on pretext of securing the oil facilities?

Answer: The free Syrian Army has paid the prices for fighting ISIS y presenting martyrs. No meeting concerning Syria is empty of mentioning combating terrorism. It is an important issue for the public opinion. But uprooting ISIS will take place by ending the reasons of its existence, and the parties that have supported it and allowed its presence are well known.

It is a must to eliminate the sectarian militia the feed ISIS and to end the oppression and establish the road for tackling its negative impacts. In the multilateral parties’ meetings, the drafting is closer to the theoretic words rather than real consensus due to conflict of interests. The final resolutions came as diversified messages which happened with the oil issues as Russia and Iran are in need to turn the US side blind for the oil smuggle between SDF and the Autonomous Administration and the regime.

Question:  The British Economist website has reported that Syria has turned into a country for trading drugs which is a merit for the regime. The report has mentioned the Keptagon tablets have expanded widely and has harmed the young people. It added, Syria has become the largest dealer for that drug use while the Syrian economy has been shrinking due to the economic sanctions, wars and corruption of the regime. The chemical factories in Aleppo and Homs have been turned into factories for making that drug. What is your comment on that report, and how it harms the Syrian economy, and is there any intention to make the young people separated with absent minded from their difficult reality?

Answer: Unfortunately, Syria has become the republic of Keptagon, which is now the most famous name of drugs that are produced in Syria thanks to Hezbollah experience in that field. Amid scarce financial resources, the regime goes blind for that trade and industry, that are produced under supervision of senior security and military officials of Hezbollah and other militia without supervision or accountability. 

The issue here is systematic to gain more money and to control the young men and recruit them for destabilizing and sabotaging the neighboring countries. The drug smuggling has even reached other part of Europe, Africa and Asia.  Any bad reputed gang is weakened the country and its oppressed people for achieving narrow interests for the regime whose destiny will in fair trails before the people who testes the bitter before and after the revolution.

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