Suwayda governorate is out of Assad's control: report

Jan 11, 2021

Dignitaries and leading sheikhs in the predominantly Druze governorate of As-Suwayda in southern Syria have reportedly rejected a proposal to support the head of the Syrian regime, Bashar al-Assad, in the upcoming presidential elections.

Al-Araby Al-Jadeed newspaper quoted a source, identified as a member of Al-Khas family, who said that Sheikh Nawaf Trad Al-Melhem, recently held a meeting with dignitaries and sheikhs from As-Suwayda governorate, including Sheikh Al-Aql Yusef Al-Jarbu`, representatives of leading families and social figures.

The source explained that Al-Melhem proposed to the attendees the idea of nominating Al-Assad for the upcoming presidential elections and supported him by social and tribal figures on behalf of their families and clans, stressing that this proposal did not meet with any positive response from the notables of As-Suwayda and that the meeting did not produce positive results.

The regime has begun using all its tools to promote the revival of Bashar al-Assad, making several moves in an attempt to utilise the support of the tribes through some of the sheikhs who have ties to the regime’s security branches and with Assad regime officials.

According to the same source, the regime held a tribal meeting for this purpose in the Hama governorate in the center of Syria, with Nawaf al-Melhem promoting Assad and trying to convince the attendees of the idea of supporting him in the upcoming elections, and naming him as a candidate for the Syrian clans.

The Arab tribes, who constitute a large proportion of the components of the Syrian revolution, have on several occasions reaffirmed their rejection of the idea of Bashar al-Assad remaining in power and stressed the need to bring down his regime and hold his elite and all those involved in committing crimes against Syrians accountable.

It is noteworthy that the elections that the Assad regime is planning to hold in summer of this year have met with widespread international opposition and an American-European affirmation that their results will not be recognized, as they are taking place outside UN Security Council Resolution 2254 and do not fulfill the aspirations of the Syrian people.

Many believe that the fall of the regime is only a matter of time, the article states, with neither Russia nor China likely to wish to spend more years on shoring him up in the face of continuing rejection.

The Assad regime is on a deadline with international sanctions after 90 days, no matter what the President tries.

Haqqofi, a Syrian opposition figure, confirmed that the president of the regime, Bashar al-Assad, will face difficult choices during the next three months.

The Syrian lawyer and human rights activist, Abdul Nasser R. Hoshan, said that Bashar al-Assad will have two options, after the time limit set for him by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), to reveal the location of his chemical weapons production facilities. According to ElDorar al Shamiya news site, the main facility is based in the town of Al-Lataminah, north of Hama.

According to the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR), if the regime insists on continuing its criminal obstruction, Article 21 of Security Council Resolution 2118, under Article VII, will be applied.

The SNHR added that the second option before the regime is to admit to the presence of Sarin and chlorine gas at its facilities, which would lead to its being held accountable for its crimes.

Al-Haqqi Abdel Nasser Hoshan said that the Assad regime is on a date with international sanctions after 90 days, no matter what the President attempts to do, telling Baladi News, that the OPCW has given the Syrian regime an additional 90 days to expose the stock of chemical stock that it owns.

Hoshan added that the United States raised the issue of the regime’s chemical weapons program during the last session of the Security Council, which was held last Tuesday, and noted that the Assad regime was overtaken by its decisions.

Hoshan confirmed that the third month of this year will bring about a serious move from the United States and a solution to its fulfillment against the Bashar al-Assad regime according to International Resolution 2118, Paragraph 21 of which stipulates that the use of sanctions is permitted under Chapter Seven without a vote by the Security Council, while Russia cannot use its veto.

Hoshan further noted that the OPCW had previously asked Bashar al-Assad to disclose the chemical stockpile in his possession; if he did so, this would effectively be a confession from the regime of possession and use of CWs against civilians, and in the case of Bashar al-Assad’s refusal to disclose the stockpile, he will have international sanctions under Article Seven, which means that the regime has two options.

Hoshan expected that the next session of the OPCW will be decisive, and it will state in its content that Bashar al-Assad has broken a thousand of the commitments contained in Resolution 2118, and therefore action must be taken by the international community under Article 7 of the Charter of the International Security Council.

Hoshan ruled out that the Assad regime would be able to continue to procrastinate due to the recent report on the use of chemical weapons in Al-Lataminah, accusing the regime of using the same chemical weapons there as in the preceding Khan Sheikhoun attack.

The American representative at the United Nations, Ambassador Richard Mills, said last Tuesday, during a videoconference session of the Security Council, that the Security Council should meets monthly to urge Syria to fulfill its obligations towards the treaty on Chemical Weapons and fulfil its obligations under UN Security Council Resolution 2118, noting that over the seven years since the adoption of this resolution, the Assad regime has not fulfilled its obligations in this regard.

Mills stressed that the Security Council has a responsibility to show that there are serious consequences and support for the victims of the use of chemical weapons, and that this behavior cannot be accepted, adding that Al-Assad's chemical weapon is not a solution to the armed forces, and the Assad regime’s use of this weapon is not a matter of opinion, but a repeatedly proven fact.

From: SOSHALS (Faisal al Qasim). Original article, in Arabic, published on January 10, 2021:

Photo: Assad banner on ruined house