The Syrian National Coalition resumed meetings in Istanbul yesterday, announcing its members have considered the candidates for the upcoming presidential elections, due to replace current president, Hadi al-Bahra. Elections will take place on Sunday too for the new president, although the Coalition has not yet announced any of the contenders. Most of the opposition blocs agreed on a "road map to save Syria" through the formation of transitional institutions, including a transitional government that can execrise the powers of the president and the prime minister (according to the current constitution), along with a military council equally shared between the two parties.
The opposition believes the agreement reached by the majority of the political and some military elements on the “road map” must be the reference for Moscow 1 talks with the regime's delegation, to be held between 26-29 January. The map does not reference the fate of President Bashar al-Assad, stipulating the period of negotiations must not exceed three months, including that it should reflect a regional and international understanding represented in a UN-backed resolution under Chapter VI, which includes the deployment of international observers.
The document proposes the formation of transitional institutions, including a transitional government and a military council, shared equally between the two parties to restructure the security services and integrate dissidents back into the regular army in order to fight the Islamic State (ISIS), in addition to constitutional principles that recognize the “Kurdish component", and decentralized administration.
The spokesman of the Coordination Commission, Munther Khaddam, told al-Hayat that the parties approving the road map draft were: the 12 parties of the Coordination Commission; the National Liberal rally (which includes 23 political and military factions); the Democrats Union; the Syrian National Coalition; the Front of Change and Liberation; the parties of the self-administered Kurdish Democratic Union (11 parties); and Cordoba Group (which established a political bloc days ago).
The military factions signatory to the agreement are: al-Haq Brigade, in Western Ghouta; Saraya as-Sahel; Fursan at-Tahrir Brigade, in Ariha; al-Faruq Brigades, headed by Colonel Haitham Idris; and Kalamoon Operations Room, headed by Brigadier General Yahya Zahra. Khaddam said that two committees have been formed to prepare for the meeting of the opposition in Cairo on 21 and 22 of this month.
In the meantime, the Coalition announced its General Commission has continued its meetings in Istanbul yesterday to discuss the Coalition's internal files, including the basic and financial systems, as well as the situation of the Assistant Unit and the electoral programs of the candidates for presidency which will take place tomorrow (Sunday). Today, the Coalition will choose a new president to replace current president, Hadi al-Bahra, as well as a new governing body (including a new general secretary to replace the current general secretary, Nasr al-Hariri, new vice presidents and a new Political Commission).
Yesterday, the Coalition published a statement issued by its general secretary, Nasr al-Hariri, in which he welcomed the declaration establishing the First Army in the southern font (Daraa and Quneitra) and the unification of other groups in Kalamoon, bordering Lebanon. Hariri stated it was considered a "conscious step, and it will compel the arrogance of Assad to undergo a political solution, especially since the reality of the events in Syria proved the force on the ground controls the negotiations about a political solution".
Hariri said he considers the First Army "a real nucleus for the institutionalization of military action inside Syria. It is one of the most important examples of the success of the rebels in transferring military battalions and brigades from the state of fragmentation and loss, to the state of organization and military institutionalization".
Translated and edited by The Syrian Observer