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Statement on the Riyadh 2 peace talks

Syria Civil Defence believes in the essential role of civil society organisations in defending the

Syria Civil Defence - the White Helmets - received an invitation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to participate in an expanded meeting of the Syrian opposition in

Riyadh on the zand of November 2017.

Syria Civil Defence extends its thanks for this generous invitation from the Custodian of the Two

Holy Mosques. We appreciate the efforts taken by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and all Arab nations

and friends of the Syrian people in order to advance the peace process and reach a just solution to

the Syrian issue.

Syria Civil Defence believes in the essential role of civil society organisations in defending the

rights of victims and that these organisations have the right to monitor the political sides and to

contribute to the formulation of a national vision.

Taking into account the sensitivity in this stage of the Syrian crisis and the importance of this

conference, we state the following:

The Syrian Civil Defence was born out of the the suffering of Syrian civilians. We are committed toall

civilians, without bias and without political affiliation. We do not consider our organisation an

opposition group in the political sense. It is an independent civil society organisation serving all

the Syrians in need, without any agendas or political ambitions.

We see our cause as a national humanitarian issue. We maintain well-known position against the

terrorist crimes committed by the Assad regime and its allied sectarian militias and the crimes of

the Islamic state. This is nota political position, but rather a moral one which obliges us and and

every other honorable person to stand with innocent victims against all those who violate their

rights, whatever the perpetrators’ political, sectarian or ethnic stance may be.

We have stuck by the Syrian people with our work on the ground throughout all of these painful

years of war, throughout all of its scourges which we have witnessed and the martyrs and the

injured we have lost, just like all other oppressed Syrians. We do not believe what is happening is a conflict between loyalists and opposition that can be resolved by sharing power between these two

parties. The real conflict is about the rights of the Syrian people, all Syrian people, to live in peace

and dignity in a free unified Syria.

2. We can assure all sponsors of peace talks that the Syrian people generally no longer see the use in

new initiatives, bodies, platforms, and conferences claiming to be representative, particularly in

the absence of any serious commitment to implement international resolutions on the ongoing

violations. This particularly applies to the Assad regime which feels immune from accountability

even in the face of the Commission of Inquiry which has confirmed the regime’s involvement in the

use of chemical weapons, torture, siege and forced displacement.

The Syrian people do not need a new round of peace talks or new bodies every few months. Their

demands are not numerous, vague or complicated. All they hope for is to live in peace and dignity in

their own land. This will be achieved primarily through the implementation of international

resolutions, particularly the Geneva Communique and Security Council Resolutions aus and 2254,

instead of wasting time establishing new frameworks and negotiating around details that do not

represent the priorities for the Syrian people today.

  1. We believe in a political solution and the need to exert all possible efforts toward advancing the

peace process in Syria. However we call on all Arab nations and friends around the world not to

allow conferences or political disputes to distract from the daily suffering of the Syrian people. The

bombing continues in many areas. The so-called de-escalation agreements are selective and seem

to be purely tactical, related to military interests and laying the groundwork for humiliating forced

displacement. Sieges continue in more than one area, and in particular in Eastern Ghouta where

civilians face a real humanitarian catastrophe. And above all this, tens of thousands of detainees

and forcibly disappeared people continue to face systematic torture without any progress on their


Based on the above and after consulting with Syria Civil Defence teams operating across our

wounded Syria, the organisation’s management has decided not to participate in the Riyadh

Conference and to remain by the side of its members and the people of Syria.

God save Syria and its people.