Syrian National Coalition President Khaled Khoja met with Lebanese Minister of Health and Progressive Socialist Party envoy Wael Abu Faour in Istanbul to discuss the incidents that took place in the Druze town of Qalb Loza. Speaking to reporters afterwards, Khoja said: "I can confirm that the Syrian national forces which participated in this meeting will not allow the repetition of this incident again".
Khoja described the meeting as "very positive, friendly and fruitful", explaining that "the forces of Idleb told the Lebanese minister that in accordance with their role as national and revolutionary forces, they consider themselves concerned with the security and safety of all the Syrian citizens, and they do not accept threatening any group of the Syrian people, especially the Druze who are renowned for their patriotism and the role they played in Idleb confronting the regime". Khoja added: "this national message delivered by the representatives of the local forces was met very positively by minister Abu Faour, and both sides agreed on holding more meetings to follow up on the developments".
Khoja drew attention to the fact that the forces attending the Istanbul meeting were "basic revolutionary forces in Idleb and have a significant impact on the ground".
"Since the beginning of the problems in Idleb, and the actions by some foreigners in the Nusra Front which negatively impacted on the reputation and image of the revolution, the National Coalition was in constant contact with MP Walid Jumblatt and Minister Abu Faour. I personally contacted them in parallel with officials in the coalition and in local councils, such as Adnan Rahmoon, who played a major role in solving the problem, as well as up with coalition's representative in Lebanon, Alia Mansour", Khoja stated.
Khoja said: "Nusra's apology statement on the backdrop of the incident in Qalb Loza had a direct influence on the local forces in Idleb which participated in the meetings of Istanbul. As the statement made clear Nusra's determination to hold accountable those responsible for the crime and to ensure the prevention of such incidents in the future".
Progressive Socialist Party Media Commissioner Rami Rayes said that the atmosphere of the meetings of Istanbul was "very positive, and concluded with an agreement about specific measures to protect the Druze villages in Syria".
A source inside the coalition revealed that the meeting "has succeeded in achieving its objectives, as the participants stressed to Jumblatt's envoy that the incident in Idleb was an individual act, stating that the Tunisian person who committed the crime has already been arrested and will be trialed".
The coalition source summarized the results of the Istanbul meeting, stating the talks:
– Emphasized that the Druze are Syrian citizens and they are a key component of the Syrian social fabric.
– Emphasized that the security and protection of the Druze community is the duty of the Syrian opposition, in relation to its duty towards the security and protection of all Syrian people.
– Revealed a commitment to the protection of the Druze in their land and their homes as original and respectable Syrian citizens.
Translated and edited by The Syrian Observer