SOHR exclusive | Prominent politician Hassan Abdel Azeem: “unlike Syrian regime, the opposition is not disconnected”
Abdel Azeem: “Moscow invited us for a meeting and canceled it with no explanation”
Settling the Syrian issue is still far-fetched, amid lack of tangible solutions, while the United Nations repeatedly call for enforcing its resolutions as an essential move to stop this protracted war raging for over a decade .
Despite all the meetings that were held and initiatives by regional and the international actors, the warring parties have not reached a compromise so far.
In an exclusive SOHR interview, the prominent politician and General coordinator of the opposition-affiliated National Coordination Committee (NCC), Hassan Abdel Azeem said that prominent leaders of the NCC, representatives of Syrian Democratic Council (SDC) and Moscow Platform were invited by the Russian Foreign Ministry for a meeting without mentioning the real reason for the meeting. Meanwhile, the official invitation was suspended for unknown reasons.
Mr. Abdel Azeem stresses that the opposition forces insist on enforcing the international resolutions as the only roadmap for reaching a peaceful political solution.
Q: There are some reports about Moscow invitation for the Syrian opposition forces over forming a new coalition, could you explain more about that invitation and in your opinion what is the significance of choosing this timing for proposing that kind of invitations?
A: The Russian Foreign Ministry invited Ahmad Al-Asrawy and Safwan Okasha for a meeting, as Al-Asrawy and Okasha are representatives of the NCC in the minor constitutional committee that is entrusted, with regime-formed committee, and civil society formed –committee, to prepare a constitution draft and negotiate over four other issues: promoting good governance, controlling security situation, defeating terrorism and running elections on condition that the constitutional committee would the key for pushing forward the political process in Geneva based on Geneva 1 statement, and the revalent international resolutions, including Resolution No. 2118 of 2013 and Resolution No. 2254 of 2015.
The Russian invitation has been also sent to other Syrian prominent politicians, including Professor Khaled Al-Mahameed, other Arab and Kurdish members of the SDF, and Ahmad Al-Jerba. The official invitation has set February 10 as the date of the meeting that was later postponed by the Russian FM for unknown reasons. Moscow has not even referred to the reasons of holding the meeting before canceling it. But we expect the objective of the cancelled meeting was to explain the reasons behind suspending the work of the regime’s delegation in the constitutional committee by the regime without offering substitutes.
Q: Do you think the opposition, after its division and disconnection, can succeed to regroup and walk forward for imposing political solution on basis of the international resolutions?
A: The opposition and revolution forces are not divided or disconnected. On the contrary, forces and individuals that had backed the ruling regime, including actors, media activists and even people of the Alawite community, who were harmed like other segments in the Syrian society, started to abandon it because of the regime’s mal-administration, adherence to the military solution and rejection of any political solution based on the statement of Geneva 1 or the relevant international resolutions, Resolution No. 2118 of 2013 and Resolution No. 2254 of 2015.
Q: The Syrian regime has been settling security situations of a large number of former fighter and suspects in several areas, including Deir Ezzor, Al-Raqqah and Daryah according to official sources. What are the repercussions of that moves and do you think it will negatively impact the opposition by losing its popular base?
A: Striking reconciliations takes place in areas under the control of the revolutionary and opposition forces, under Iranian and Russian mediation, amid silence by international powers. However, the ruling regime and its allies do not have the capabilities of providing the basic standards of living and security stability.
Hassan Abdel Azeem: the US administration does not speak about ousting the Syrian regime.
Q: Did you notice any arrangements by Moscow with some regional countries for addressing the Syrian issue in a different way in terms of maintaining the regime in power?
A: The US administration does not speak about toppling the Syrian regime, but it reiterates the reform of the regime and the enforcement of the international resolutions that will lead to a peaceful transition. Accordingly, the regime will be changed not by international or regional military intervention that violates the UN charter, like the intervention in Iraq in 2003 or Libya in 2011.
When the Syrian regime implements the UN resolutions No. 2118 and No. 2254, Syria will enjoy a peaceful transition of power and other stability prerequisites, like drafting new constitution, promoting good governance, controlling security situation and defeating terrorism. Such move can potentially pave the way for a fair elections under full supervision of the UN and the international human rights organisations.
That is why the regime delegation in the constitutional committee is exerting desperate efforts to evade the implementation of the UN resolutions and attempt to restore the Syrian seat in the Arab League with support by the regime allies. However, the opposition, revolutionary forces and all forces of the “National Democratic Front” are against that approach of settling the Syrian crisis.
Q: Some identical reports revealed that Turkey has been gathering some of the opposition factions in north-west Syria, in your opinion, What does such move aim to? Does it indicate to a new escalation by the armed opposition or it is just a bargaining chip that the Turkish government wants to use to settle the Syrian situation?
A: The Turkish government has been collaborating with the Syrian National Army and the moderate opposition factions taking part in the negotiation political process via the Syrian committee in Geneva as a key for achieving a political settlement rather than complicating the Syrian issue, according to officials in the Turkish government and foreign ministry.
However, the regime delegation in the constitutional committee has been persisting on hindering the work of the committee and there is no hope that the regime delegation will change its stance in light of international indifference.