On 2 October, Syrian National Coalition President Khaled Khoja met United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to discuss the political process, Russia’s military aggression in Syria, and the urgent need to protect civilians.
President Khoja assured the Secretary-General of the opposition’s commitment to a credible political process that aims to achieve the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people and the establishment of a Transitional Governing Body on the basis of the Geneva Communique. In contrast, the regime is fighting and killing those same groups with which it will need to negotiate and establish this body. Ultimately, it is not for the international community to select a replacement for Bashar al Assad. There are 24 million Syrians whose right it is to elect their president.
During their constructive and frank discussion, President Khoja urged the Secretary-General to condemn the killing of civilians by Russia’s military aggression. The President said that the illegal strikes did not target ISIS, but were intended to kill and intimidate civilians, kill moderate opposition forces, and prop up the Assad regime. The statement from the Secretary-General must be stronger and must condemn the over 50 innocent civilian casualties of the Russian airstrikes. As the Secretary-General has done in other situations he must not hesitate to clearly condemn the civilian toll of the Russian airstrikes. The President was clear that the Syrian people were losing faith in the UN, and needed the UN to stand beside them.
The President welcomed the Secretary-General’s position against barrel bombs, but noted that it is not enough. A no-fly zone is needed in Syria. It may not provide 100% safety and security, but it would significantly reduce the killing and alleviate the suffering of Syrians. In this respect, the President also urged the Secretary-General to seek stronger implementation of Security Council resolutions 2165 and 2191 for the delivery of cross-border and cross-line humanitarian aid into all of Syrian territories.