Bombing of Idlib Obstructs Political Process

A child raising the flag of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) during a protest calling for stopping the shelling and for Turkey to open the borders – May 31, 2019 (Reuters)

A child raising the flag of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) during a protest calling for stopping the shelling and for Turkey to open the borders – May 31, 2019 (Reuters)


Under the persistent military campaign and the ongoing bombing of the towns and villages in the rural parts of Idlib and Hama by the Syrian regime and the Russian warplanes, much of the discussion today is addressing the fate of the political process and the formation of the Constitutional Committee, particularly because the latest escalation has followed the previous months’ promises, which the guarantor states made about the approaching formation and assembly of the Committee.

On Thursday, May 30, following the Security Council’s closed session on Idlib, Geir Pedersen, the UN’s Special Envoy for Syria, made statements which seem detached from reality as he referred to a progress achieved in relation to the Constitutional Committee and the support his efforts are getting from the Security Council’s members to reach a political solution for the Syrian affair.
However, amidst the escalation of hostilities and the displacement of 65452 families (425438 persons), the death of 568 civilians, 162 of whom are children, since April 26 to May 27, as reported by the “Response Coordinators,” is the political process yet in force?

Political Process Sparks Sarcasm Among Syrians

The spokesperson of the High Negotiations Commission (HNC), Yahya al-Aridi, believes that “with the current circumstances, bloodshed, displacement, destruction, bombing with aircraft, the criminal operations and the death of the children under the rubble, the political process does not stand a chance.”
“The political process is now on hold, as it used to be earlier on, because of the Syrian regime which chooses the military solution,” al-Aridi told Enab Baladi.

For his part, Naser al-Hariri, the Head of HNC, described the political process as turning into the Syrian people’s joke, and announced that “within the existing conditions, the political process, that if is not totally demolished, is paused for a long time, cannot be retrieved, for the Syrian regime does not believe in political solutions.”

“There is not a political process, and what is being depended on is fight and fight only, and the target is the Syrian people,” al-Hariri said in an interview with al-Arabiya al-Hadath, on Wednesday, April 29.

The head of HNC considered that the UN’s talk about a political process and the formation of a constitutional committee a repetition, believing that “there is not a value to a political process, a constitutional committee, UN efforts, international resolutions, statements or condemnations, in the face of what is being suffered by and is agonizing our people in the northern areas of Syria.”

“The philosophical speech we hear from the Security Council and the regime and Russia being left unchecked as to commit more crimes in the shadow of the immunity provided by the veto, as well as abandoning the Syrian people to meet their fate, is what has driven al-Hariri to announce that the political process is in a state of deterioration and that it has become a joke,” al-Aridi explained.


Would HNC Withdraw from Negotiations?

Talking about the political process being on hold was accompanied by Syrian people demanding halting the process of political negotiations and the formation of the constitutional committee. This synced to Abdulrahman Dadam, an HNC member, declaration of the suspension of his membership until the massacres against the civilians in Idlib are stopped.

On Thursday, May 30, he posted the reasons to the decision on Twitter, saying: “Our voice is not heard any more at the UN, which claims to be humanitarian, despite the suffering that our people are undergoing as they are being killed by the most formidable internationally prohibited weapons.”

Answering these demands, al-Aridi said: “[We] have all the respect to people’s pains, their anger and their feelings. But matters are not measured as thus, for demands posted on social networking sites would not stop the attack on Idlib.”

Al-Aridi considered that ending the negotiations would be a real chance for Russian to announce that opposition does not exist before the UN, especially since “one of Moscow’s basic cravings is to blow up the integrity of any side that says no to the matrix of oppression and consider it a terrorist.”

The HNC is not a leader of the revolution or the political body that represents Syria, according to al-Araidi, rather it is “a state performing a certain function and is committed to the rights of Syrians; it does not compromise their rights, not even the slightest of them. It also delivers the Syrian people’s voice to the world and signal that Russia is not a guarantor state but a murderer of the Syrian people”, pointing out that “the HNC’s members do not view it as a job or a position.”

In response to the question, whether HNC would attend another negotiation round if invited, al-Hariri stressed that “in the shadow of carnage, bombardment and destruction, there is not a possibility for a call to a round of negotiations and the start of the political process.”

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