MESOP Syria Daily: Opposition Coalition Sets Conditions for Political Solution / UN DE MISTURA WORKS FOR ASSAD

By Scott Lucas February 16, 2015 – EAWORLDVIEW – Syria’s opposition National Coalition has adopted a 13-point statement of Basic Principles for a political resolution to the four-year conflict.In a three-day meeting, the Coalition’s General Assembly stressed the need to resume negotiations under UN auspices, based on the outcome of the Geneva II Conference in 2012.Last month, Russia convened a meeting of regime officials and some members of Syria’s domestic opposition. However, most leading opposition groups stayed away: the Coalition rejected the abandonment of the principle that President Assad must step aside for a transitional government, and other groups objected to the detention of their senior members by Damascus.

The Coalition restated on Sunday that there must be a “transitional governing body with full executive powers, including the powers of the President of Republic and his authority over the state ministries, agencies and state institutions, including the armed forces, police intelligence and security agencies and branches”.

Under Sunday’s Principles, the transitional governing body will hold internationally-monitored elections for a Constituent Assembly, which will drafting a new Constitution. A referendum to approve the Constitution will be held under UN auspices.

The Coalition said a halt to the killing, torture, detention, and displacement of civilians is a prerequisite for resuming talks: “[This is] a test for the Assad regime’s compliance with of human rights laws and the UN Security Council resolutions on Syria.”

The Coalition has not met with Assad’s representatives since two sets of discussions — which could not even agree on an agenda — in Geneva in early 2014.

Rebels Break Off Cooperation with UN Envoy After His Recognition of Assad

Rebels have announced that they are breaking off cooperation with UN envoy Staffan de Mistura, after his recognition of President Assad as essential to any political solution in Syria.

Both the Revolutionary Command Council and the Sham Front, who represent the vast majority of Syria’s rebels, issued statements denouncing de Mistura’s declaration, which followed his meeting last week with Assad.

Up to last week, the UN and De Mistura’s predecessors had promoted plans calling for a “transitional governing authority”, with Assad stepping down from power.

Opposition Criticizes Islamic State, Regime’s Mass Killing of Civilians with “Caged Children” Protest

Challenging both the Islamic State and the Assad regime’s mass killing of civilians, the opposition has staged a “caged children” protest.

The video echoes the Islamic State’s execution of a Jordanian pilot in northern Syria earlier this month: the jihadists burnt Moaz al-Kasasbeh alive in a cage.

However, the immediate message to the world is about the Assad regime’s sustained bombing of the Damascus suburb of Douma, which killed more than 250 people and injured hundreds in the week from February 5 to February 12.