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Syrian Regime Blocks Opposition Conference in Damascus

March 29, 2021
Dana Saqbani
2 min read
Syrian Regime Blocks Opposition Conference in Damascus

Syrian opposition group the National Democratic Front, also known as Juud, has been blocked by the Assad regime from holding its official founding conference in Damascus.

In a statement published on Facebook on Saturday, the group’s preparatory committee said that the Syrian security agencies had called its members on Friday evening and warned them off attending the event in the capital.

They described that the calls as "threatening" in nature and said that the “pretext” used by the authorities was that the event’s organizers did not have the appropriate licenses.

Juud was recently formed as a peaceful civilian movement that seeks to represent Syrians from all walks of life. In the documents it put forward for approval ahead of the conference, it detailed a set of proposals to bring Syria out of its current situation.

Foremost among these was radical regime change and root-and-branch reform of governance in the country. It also called for the expulsion of all foreign forces and militia groups from Syria, and the confiscation of weapons from other armed groups in an attempt to bring about lasting peace.

In its statement, the preparatory committee said it considers the regime’s action on Friday to be “a violation of all international laws and human rights, and a criminal repressive act", adding that it would not give up on its fight against “tyranny, oppression and corruption”.

The conference was supposed to be held this weekend, March 27 to 28, at the offices of the group’s coordination committee in Damascus. Nine political parties and several independent participants had been due to attend the event, which had the stated aim of “unifying the ranks of the Syrian opposition."

Among the would-be participants were the Syrian National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change, the Solidarity Party, the Turkmen Movement, the National Initiative in Al-Suwayda', the Kurdish Progressive Party, the We Want a Nation Movement; the Communist League in Al-Suwayda', the Citizenship Movement, and the Kurdish Unity Party.

The National Coordination Committee has described itself as "the voice of the national opposition in Syria". Its slogan is "toward a civil and democratic Syria." The group was established in mid-2011 with its founding charter signed by 12 different parties, with several other groups subsequently joining and withdrawing from it.

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