The leader of the Syrian opposition wing Al-Ghad Al-Souri (Syrian Tomorrow) Ahmed al-Jarba – Reuters The leader of the Syrian opposition wing Al-Ghad Al-Souri (Syrian Tomorrow) Ahmed al-Jarba – Reuters

Jarba, U.S. envoy discuss political settlement in Syria

Thu, Oct. 5, 2017
CAIRO – 5 October 2017: Leader of Syrian opposition wing Al-Ghad Al-Souri (Syrian Tomorrow) Ahmed al-Jarba met with Brett McGurk, the U.S. envoy to the international alliance against the Islamic State (IS), in Cairo on Wednesday to discuss international efforts against terrorism and IS eastern Syria.

Jarba and McGurk discussed strategies to solidify the ceasefire and de-escalation in accordance with agreements in eastern Ghouta and northern Homs, which were recently announced in Cairo under Egyptian auspices. They also discussed similar agreements pertaining to south-west Ghouta under American, Russian and Jordanian sponsorship.

The spokesman of Al-Ghad Al-Souri, Munther Akbik, told the press on Thursday that Jarba was shocked by various parties' shelling, which caused massive casualties among civilians, demanding that the international coalition be more careful.

The Syrian Foreign Ministry addressed the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) in September accusing the U.S.- led coalition of constantly assaulting Syrian residential areas, infrastructure and civilians.

The ministry renewed its demand for the UNSC to take immediate action to stop the crimes and breaches of international law committed repeatedly by the coalition.

Jarba also emphasized the need to improve the humanitarian situation of the people in eastern Syria by increasing aids, as they suffer greatly from shelling, displacement and the destruction of their homes.

The opposition wing had earlier vowed to commit itself to war on terrorism, cleansing the country of IS and al-Nusra terrorists, and resolving the Syrian conflict through a political settlement paving the way for democracy. There have been attempts to reach a settlement during the Geneva Peace Talks that were organized by the United States since February 2016, but they were suspended.

There has previously been an agreement between the opposition and the regime that a transition stage would commence, during which a new constitution would be written before holding free and fair elections allowing all Syrians at home and abroad to participate.

On the other hand, McGurk expressed the U.S.' commitment to fight IS in eastern Syria, as a means of achieving stability and securing basic services for the people, while also vowing commitment to push for the resumption of the Geneva Peace Talks.

Jarba noted that the Arab Council in the Arab Peninsula, the Euphrates and the Syrian elite forces would play a role in establishing security and stability, as well as managing the areas liberated from IS. Carrying out these tasks in collaboration with the rest of the parties eliminates any possible future tensions between different factions.

The meeting was attended by the spokesperson of Al-Ghad Al-Souri, Munther Akbik, the director of Al-Ghad Al-Souri’s office in Cairo, Qasim Khatib, and the U.S. delegation presided over by Brett McGurk.

Jarba said in August that Egypt had sponsored the ceasefire that was announced in war-stricken areas in northern Syria,because it was not involved in any bloodshed there.

He added that Egypt has been chosen to sponsor the ceasefire agreements due to its good relations with Russia, and neutral stance towards the Syrian crisis.

Egypt and Russia have brokered two ceasefire agreements between Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces and the armed opposition fighters in certain areas in northern Syria.

On July 23, the first cease-fire was announced in Ghouta region in Damascus, while the second de-escalation deal was announced in an area in northern Homs countryside on August 3.

Syria's Tomorrow opposition movement was founded in March 2016 by Syrian National Council member Ahmad Al-Jarba. Recently, Syria's Tomorrow opposition movement signed a ceasefire agreement in eastern Ghouta with the Syrian regime.

The Syrian political situation has been deteriorating since the protests that emerged with the Arab Spring revolutions in 2011, when the opposition created the "Free Syrian Army" to face Assad’s forces. The situation worsened when the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group interfered in the country in 2014.

About 470,000 people had been killed since the beginning of the war as of February 2016, according to the latest data from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Some 1.6 million Syrians have been domestically displaced, while the number of refugees reached 4.8 million people, the data added.
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