Syrian civil society’s vision for a post-Assad future

Speaking at CEPS on behalf of the Syrian Civil Society Declaration Initiative, Syrian activists Assaad al Achi (Executive Director of Baytna) and Mutasem Alsyofi (Executive Director of The Day After project) laid out a vision for a post-Assad Syria championed by more than 270 civil society organisations and 1,000 individuals. Commenting on the first day of the latest cessation of hostilities, the activists expressed scepticism about the viability of the secret US-Russian deal for its lack of any monitoring mechanism or consequences for violating the ceasefire. They reiterated the insistence of Syrian civil society that “any sustainable agreement for Syria must address the root causes of the conflict: the indiscriminate violence perpetuated by the Assad regime – and its Russian and Iranian backers – and effectively respond to the legitimate demands of the Syrian people for freedom and reforms after 45 years of totalitarian tyranny”.

They called upon EU member states to:

  • protect Syrian civilians from indiscriminate attacks by enforcing a no-bombing zone for all of Syria;
  • break the sieges across Syria by delivering aid to those in need through the most direct routes;
  • strengthen sanctions on Assad, Russia and all those responsible for aiding and abetting war crimes in Syria;
  • support accountability, including by trying cases using domestic and universal jurisdiction;
  • increase commitments to post-conflict stabilisation to ensure that a future Syria is stable and free; and
  • uphold international law and press for full implementation of UNSC and General Assembly Syria-related resolutions.

During the discussion, the absence of the EU on the diplomatic front was lamented, a sentiment expressed by Commission President Juncker in his State of the European Union address two days later.

This event was co-organised with Independent Diplomat.