Despite Conflict, Syria Implements Reforms

New Worker

The Syrian army is continuing its sweep against the Nato-backed rebels throughout the country. The countryside around the capital, Damascus, has now been cleared of terrorists and that most of Aleppo is now safe. But the rebels are responding with more car bombs in Damascus and other urban areas.

Two senior opposition leaders have disappeared after landing at Damascus International Airport, along with another who came to meet them. They were coming to attend a keynote opposition conference in Damascus and the organisers believe they are being held by Syrian intelligence. The government say the three were kidnapped by terrorist groups.

And United Nations envoy Lakhdar Brahimi has told the UN Security Council that the situation is “extremely bad and getting worse” while the feudal Arab Emir of Qatar, who holds his own people in bondage with imperialist support, is calling for an “Arab intervention force” to enter Syria and halt the conflict.

Lakhdar Brahimi told the UN: “There is no disagreement anywhere that the situation in Syria is extremely bad and getting worse, that it is a threat to the region and a threat to peace and security in the world.”

He admitted that he did not have a full plan to end the fighting and said there was “no prospect for today or tomorrow to move forward.” But he added: “I think that we will find an opening in the not too distant future.” And said he believed “reasonable people” would know that they cannot go backwards.

Meanwhile the Arab Socialist Renaissance (Ba’ath) Party, which has dominated Syrian politics since 1963, has said that the Syrian army is making significant achievements and progress on the path of restoring security and stability.

“This is going on at the time when a dynamic activity is witnessed in the Syrian arena in the course of remarkable political changes towards implementing the reform programme steps, aimed at reaching pluralistic and participatory democracy,” the Ba’athists said in a statement on Tuesday.

It said the emergence of a large number of parties, trends and forces in an atmosphere of freedom of expression and assembly, despite the special security circumstances, proved “once again the accustomed political vitality of the Syrian people.”

This was concretely demonstrated by the goahead for a one-day conference in Damascus last Sunday of opposition forces that called for an immediate ceasefire as well as the end of the Assad government. Diplomats from Iran, Russia and China attended the meeting and the Russian ambassador, Azmat Allah Kolmahmedov, praised the conference, organised by National Coordination Body for Democratic Change (NCB), calling it a “direct implementation of the process of reforms launched by the Syrian government, including the freedom of expression.”

The conference’s conclusions were similar to those in the UN’s “Annan Plan.” It called for an immediate ceasefire accompanied by the full withdrawal of the Syrian army from towns and cities and the release of all political detainees and kidnapped people. This would be followed by the start of negotiations between the opposition and representatives of the Syrian government on a peaceful transition of power.

The NCB is dismissed by the “Free Syrian Army,” and the other rebel groups funded by the Arab oil princes and armed by Nato, as some sort of front for the Assad government because the NCB is opposed to the violence and imperialist intervention.

But it is led by some long-standing opponents of Syria’s ruling party and the Ba’athists disagreed with some of the conference’s conclusions.

The Ba’ath Party attacked the promotion of “despotic and non-patriotic thinking” by some of the participants at the conference and it stressed that the way forward must be based on unconditional dialogue and commitment to plural democracy. Attempts by some opposition parties to link the political solution to the crisis with the armed terrorist dimension affirmed the unity between these parties’ stance and that of the external sides, which are supporting terrorism and sending mercenaries, funds and weapons to the armed groups.


Syria’s Newly Elected People’s Assembly to Convene on Thursday


DAMASCUS, (SANA) — The People’s Assembly is to convene on Thursday for the first time in the first legislative term for 2012 according to Decree No. 172 for 2012 and based on Article 64 of the Syrian Constitution approved last February.

According to Paragraph 2 of Article 64 of the Constitution and the Assembly’s statute, the Assembly, which is to be headed at its first meeting by the eldest attending member, with the youngest two members undertaking the secretariat, elect the Speaker and members of the Assembly’s Office by secret ballot.

The Assembly’s members are to be sworn in at the first meeting of the newly elected Assembly.

The People’s Assembly elections were conducted on May 7th, 2012 under the new constitution and the General Elections law and with independent judicial supervision represented by the Higher Committee for Elections and judicial subcommittees.

250 members were elected out of 7195 candidates from all spectrums of society. The vote percentage reached 51.26 out of 5186957 voters. The Number of elected women amounted to 30 and the number of members elected for the first time reached 209.

The parliamentary elections included the participation of the political forces and blocs, licensed parties and independent personalities, individually or joined in lists of party and political alliances under media coverage of about 200 Arab and foreign media outlets.

The People’s Assembly is elected every four years. It consists of 250 members according to Decree 113 for 2012, 172 of whom represent the workers and farmers sector, while the other 123 members represent the rest of the sectors.

Also see:
Crimson Satellite Syria News

Crowds in Damascus, Hasaka Gather to Support Reform Process


DAMASCUS / HASAKA (SANA) – Huge crowds of Syrians gathered at Saba Bahrat Square in Damascus and the President Square in Hasaka to stress support to the reform process in Syria.

The masses rejected all attempts of foreign interference in Syria’s internal affairs, expressing determination to foil the conspiracy.

The participants in Damascus expressed deep appreciation for the sacrifices of the Syrian army in confronting armed terrorist groups.

Political and media figures from Tunisia and Lebanon joined the Syrians in these gathering where Secretary General of the Tunisian Unionist Democratic Union Party, Ahmed Al-Inoubli, said that what is taking place in Syria is a hopeless attempt by the West to undermine an important defender of the Arab rights.

He expressed confidence that Syria will remain the main support for the Resistance, adding that its steadfastness signals the emergence of new international order that eliminates the US-Zionist domination.

Political analyst Akram Mkanna said that Syria will come out stronger of the crisis and the Syrian people are determined to continue reform process and combat terrorism, underlining that restoring security and stability are important to achieve reforms.

In al-Hasaka, a youth group organized a national event at the President Square in the province to express appreciation to the role of the Syrian army in defending the homeland.

The participants chanted national songs, raising flags and banners that stress their rejection of foreign interference in their internal affairs and all schemes which aim at undermining Syria’s stability and dignity.

Sheikh Fayez al-Names called for adhering to the national unity against the conspirators whose plots failed to undermine the Syrians.

The participants condemned stances of some countries which called for arming the terrorist groups which kill and mutilate the Syrian people serving the Zionist dream in preserving the Israeli entity.

R. Raslan/ Mazen

Also see:
Crimson Satellite Syria News

Syrian Interior Ministry: 89.4% of 8,376,447 Voters Agreed to New Draft Constitution


DayPress News

DAMASCUS (SANA) – Syria’s Interior Ministry announced Monday the results of the referendum on the new draft resolution of Syria, with 89.4% of voters agreeing to it.

In a press conference, Minister of Interior Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ibrahim al-Shaar said that that 8,376,447 citizens voted in the referendum on the new draft constitution, which constitutes 57.4% of the 14,589,954 eligible voters, with 7,490,319 (89.4% of voters) agreeing to it while 753,208 (9% of voters) didn’t agree.

Related: Complete Text of Syrian Draft Constitution (English)

He added that there were 132,920 invalid ballots, which makes up 1.6% of votes.

Minister Al-Shaar said that there was a good turnout despite the threats and intimidation by armed terrorist groups in some areas and the accompanying distortion and instigation campaigns by media which attempted to prevent citizens from practicing their right to vote and harm the democratic process.On Sunday, Syrian citizens voted on the new draft resolution of Syria, with poll centers witnessing increasing turnout as the hours passed, reflecting the citizens’ keenness on moving forward with the reform process.

Speaker of the People’s Assembly Mahmoud al-Abrash, upon voting on the new constitution on Sunday, said that the Syrians themselves build up the future of their country through their participation in the draft constitution referendum.

For his part, Prime Minister Adel Safar stressed in a statement to the journalists that the draft constitution meets the Syrian people’s aspirations as it focuses on their needs in the various fields, particularly those related to health, education, guaranteeing the private property, freedoms and the independence of justice.

He added that the draft constitution is an important step in Syria’s history and will be effective in achieving political plurality and ensuring democracy and freedom.

For his part, Foreign and Expatriates Minister Walid al-Moallem said Sunday the referendum on the new draft constitution marks a historic day in the life of the Syrian people who have stressed their steadfastness and unity and therefore deserved a new constitution to move toward a new stage of democracy and political plurality.

Asked to address a message to the outside, al-Moallem said “My message to the outside is to address their own internal worries and to leave Syria alone,” adding that “those who care for the interest of the Syrian people don’t impose sanctions on it.”

Interior Minister Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ibrahim al-Shaar also said Sunday that the constitutional referendum crowned a package of reforms commenced by the leadership, adding that the referendum process has proceeded normally in the majority of provinces regions.

Minister of Local Administration Eng. Omar Ghalawanji, Minister of Justice Judge Tayseer Qala Awwad, Minister of Health Dr. Wael Nader al-Halqi, Minister of Education Saleh al-Rashed and Minister of Electricity Imad Khamis also voted on the draft of the new constitution.

Religious figures and scholars also participated in the referendum, with Dr. Mohammad Said Ramadan al-Bouti saying during his participation that this constitution expresses the nation’s desires and challenging any group of constructive opposition to devise a better constitution.

In turn, Greek Catholic Patriarch of Antioch and All the East Gregorius III Lahham said that the referendum addresses the Arab and Islamic world and the west, telling them that this is Syria and this is its history, present and future.

Referendum on the new draft constitution for the Syria Arab Republic started Sunday at seven a.m. in the centers distributed in all provinces, border centers, airports and Badia.

The total number of referendum centers amounted to 14,185 after some provinces asked to increase the number set previously at 13,835 centers.

Mobile centers are also available in the desert for the Bedouins who cannot come to referendum centers. The referendum will be held according to voting tables distributed to all centers in order to match the voters’ names as to avoid double voting.

The Syrian citizen had voted according to his/ her identity card or what can substitute it such as the election card, valid passport, driving license, syndicate card or the university card.

Instructions were also distributed in each center in all provinces so the citizen gets acquainted with the steps they should know to vote.

The referendum operation continued until 07:00 p.m. local time and, in special cases the heads of few center found high turnout, and voting was extended until 10:00 p.m. only, then all centers were closed officially.

Also see:
Crimson Satellite Syria News

Syria: 14,600,000 Citizens Eligible to Participate in Referendum on New Constitution

DAMASCUS (SANA) — About 14,600,000 throughout Syrian governorates are eligible to participate in the referendum on the new constitution in Syria, Deputy Minister of Interior for Civil Affairs, General Hassan Jalali said Saturday.

Gen. Jalali added that 13,835 offices were devoted to the referendum, including offices opened on land borders and at airports to enable all citizens to practice their right to referendum.

He said the referendum will be held under the supervision of a central committee chaired by the interior minister and two of his assistants.


Popular and Academic Figures: New Draft Constitution Meets Aspirations of Syrian People

PROVINCES, (SANA) – Several academic and popular figures across the Syrian provinces expressed confidence that the new draft constitution meets the aspirations of the Syrian society towards change, reform and development.

In Der Ezzor, Dr. Adnan Oweid, a lecturer at al-Furat University, said that the draft constitution forms another stage of Syria and its history, pointing out that the constitution covers citizenship, freedom of the individual and social justice.

Head of Deir Ezzor Lawyers Union branch Asaad al-Dandal said that the draft constitution is an evolution of Syria’s previous constitution and is much more sophisticated than any other constitution in the Arab World, while director of the regional office of the General Women’s Union Mufida Sfeif said that the draft constitution is a positive step that protects women’s rights and freedom which already exist in Syria.

Similarly, Dean of the Economy Faculty at Tishreen University Dr. Yosuef Mahmoud said that the draft constitution will allow for creating economic plans that improve the conditions of citizens and meet their needs in a realistic manner.

In al-Raqqa, lawyer Mohammad Issa al-Mustafa said the draft constitution reflects the accumulative state of the Syrian civilization and meets the needs of the Syrian people, while fellow lawyer Nadia Hilal noted that the draft constitution’s text meets society’s needs in all fields and that it will result in legislation that cover all aspects of life.

Housam al-Hamadah, a university student, said that the draft constitution will face the crisis taking place in Syria and will help Syria get out of it stronger, stressing that the most important thing about the draft constitution is its political pluralism and the fact that it doesn’t allow for establishing parties on divisive and discriminatory basis such as religion, sect, region, ethnicity, race and so on.

In Tartous, member of the Tartous Second Economy Faculty staff Dr. Madyan al-Dabet said that the draft constitution keeps up with the developments which took place in Syria during the past decades on the political, economic, social and cultural levels.

Head of the Tartous Lawyers Union branch Mohammad Kannaj said that the draft constitution is the culmination of national efforts working to build the future Syria, and that it’s peerless in Arab countries in terms of separating the aspects of political, social and cultural life and preserving personal freedoms.

In sweida, People’s Assembly member Abdullah al-Atrash said that the draft constitution signals a new stage of political life in Syria and develops the work of the Higher Constitutional Tribunal, giving it authority to make sure that laws and decrees are in line with the constitution.

In turn, retired teacher Michel al-Saho remarked that the draft constitution guarantees that education is free at all levels and considers education a right that the government is obliged to provide until the end of the basic education stage, while lawyer Salwa Thabet pointed out that the draft constitution allows Syrian women to improve themselves and take part in building the society.

Chairman of Shabha City Council Imad al-Tawil underlined the fact that the new draft constitution gives a bigger role to regional councils and is fair in terms of land repossession.

Director of the Family Planning Society in Sweida Iqbal Hamed said that the draft constitution underlines the important role of families as the nucleus of society.

Head of the Idleb Lawyers Union branch said that the draft constitution is fit to be an example of democracy, while Head of excavation department at Idleb Archeology Department Anas Zeidan said the draft constitution stresses the importance of archeological sites and preserving historic heritage.

In Aleppo, head of the reproductive health department at the Health Directorate Dr. Liqa’a Hallak said that the new draft resolution keeps up with the times, noting that it has new benefits for women such as allowing her to grant her children citizenship, while Assistant Director of Aleppo Health Directorate Dr. Lina Alouzi said that the draft constitution deals with several weak points in the old constitution.

F. Allafi/H. Sabbagh

Also see:
Crimson Satellite Syria News

Syrian Women Rally In Support of President al-Assad

Women in Hasaka voice support for President Bashar al-Assad.

SANA English Bulletin
with editing by Nina Westbury

DAMASCUS, (SANA) – Thousands of Syrian women on Thursday gathered in Bab Touma Square in Damascus for a mass rally to express support to the comprehensive reform program led by President Bashar al-Assad, stressing the importance of Syria’s sovereignty and independent national decision.

The participants condemned the Arab League (AL) decision against Syria and rejected foreign interference in Syria’s internal affairs.

Meanwhile, women led a rally inside President Square, in the northeastern governorate of Hasaka, to express rejection of the AL decision against Syria.

The female participants voiced their rejection of foreign interference in Syria’s internal affairs, lending support to the independent national decision and the preservation of their homeland’s sovereignty.

The women condemned the AL and globalist organizations, which work by all means to internationalize the situation in Syria — attempting to discredit its leading role in defending Arab rights.

The women, in a statement read by Chairperson of the General Women’s Union of Syria, Majida Ktait, denounced the Arab League’s decision; they pledged to defend the homeland, foil conspiracy and saboteurs, and to participate in the making of a national epic that restores glory to Arab history and preserves Syria’s strategic importance in the region.

The statement underlined that those conspiring against Syria use a variety of cheap tactics to undermine the nation’s security and stability, including soliciting the involvement of foreign media outlets.

The women’s statement saluted the martyrs who have sacrificed their lives for the safety and security of the homeland.

Over the past few weeks, main squares and streets of several Syrian communities have been filled with millions of Syrian citizens who stress national unity, express support to the reform process and denounce the AL decision against Syria.

R. Raslan/ H. Said/ al-Ibrahim

Also see:
Millions of Syrians Nationwide Rally Against Arab League
President al-Assad: “We Have No Choice Left but to Win Any Battle That Would Target Our Sovereignty”

Millions of Syrians Nationwide Rally Against Arab League

Syrians flocked to Sabe Bahrat square in downtown Damascus on November 13 to express anger over the Arab League (AL) decision to suspend the Syrian delegation in the pan-Arab body. Most Syrian cities witnessed similar protests. (Xinhua/Bassim)

Xinhua News Agency
with editing by Nina Westbury

DAMASCUS, Nov.13 (Xinhua) — Millions of Syrians on Sunday thronged to main squares and streets in various Syrian cities to lend support to their embattled President Bashar al-Assad and to express discontent with the Arab League (AL) decision to suspend Syria’s membership.
In the capital, Damascus, hundreds of thousands flocked to the Saba Bahrat Square, arriving either on foot or by using public transportation. It appeared as if the whole city was out on the streets on Sunday.

Some people waved Syrian flags along with Assad’s posters and shouted slogans such as “God, Syria and Bashar only,” while others carried banners, some of which read “down with the Hebrew League,” referring to the AL, accusing it of acting out a Western and Israeli led conspiracy against Syria.

The nationwide raucous rallies came a day after the AL decided to suspend the activities of Syrian delegation in the pan-Arab body.

The 22-nation AL convened an emergency meeting in the Egyptian capital of Cairo on Saturday to weigh the possibility of undertaking harsher measures against the Syrian government given its alleged breach of a plan reached between the two sides recently to bring the months-old crisis in Syria to a close.

The AL plan calls for stopping violence and withdrawing military vehicles from Syrian streets in addition to releasing detainees and holding a dialogue between Syrian authorities and the opposition at the AL headquarters.

Under the latest AL resolution, activities of the Syrian delegation in the pan-Arab body would be suspended, effective Wednesday. The AL also called on its members to withdraw their ambassadors in Syria and urged sanctions on Damascus until the peace plan it brokered is implemented.

The international community along with some opposition activists welcomed the resolution. United Nations (UN) chief Ban Ki-moon on Saturday voiced support to the resolution, urging Damascus to heed the AL call to “stop violence” and “implement the working plan fully and speedily.”

U.S. President Barack Obama praised the League’s move, and France said it was time for international bodies to take more action against Syrian government.

An hour after the League’s decision, angry rallies swept across Syria to express resentment with the AL stance.

The rowdy crowds pelted the Qatari embassy in Damascus with eggs and tomatoes and shouted obscenities at Qatari Prime Minister Hamad bin Jasim al-Thani, who headed the AL emergency session on Saturday.

Protestors reportedly stormed the Saudi embassy, which is located near the Qatari one, to bring down the Saudi flag.

Meanwhile, Syria’s official media blasted the AL decision and confirmed that the country is still capable of encountering the challenges and of emerging even stronger.

The Arab decision was also slammed by some opposition figures inside Syria, such as Mohammad Habash, a parliamentarian who heads the Third Way movement that gathers around 40 politicians and intellectuals. Habash said in a statement that the AL has ” deviated from its charter and internal system” by suspending Syria’s membership.

Syrian Ambassador to the AL Yusuf Ahmad said on Saturday that the AL’s latest decision came in contravention to the AL principles, accusing the AL of acting out a foreign agenda by applying such decision.

The Syrian opposition abroad has recently called on the AL to suspend Syria’s membership and to back sanctions against those responsible for human rights abuses in the country.

Also See:
President al-Assad: “We Have No Choice Left but to Win Any Battle That Would Target Our Sovereignty”