Experts are expecting that Assad regime will leave the power in the following days. Meanwhile, the cases of the regime’s violations are expected to be opened, particularly its chemical violations.
In an exclusive interview with STEP News Agency, Ahmad al-Ahmad, a spokesperson for the Chemical Violations Documentation in Syria (CVDCS), said that the investigations into the use of chemical weapons in Syria has reached an advanced stage, as the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) started a few months ago criminal investigations into attacks that took place in Syria, but no party was held responsible for them. “We expect the first report of the Investigation and Identification Team (IIT) to be issued soon,” al-Ahmad added.
“Since the organization does not drop chemical weapons crimes by statute of limitations, the IIT team will reinvestigate all the chemical attacks that took place in Syria since 2014, to determine who is responsible, except for the attacks in which the joint investigation mechanism (JIM) has already identified the responsible,” he pointed out.
“After identifying them – and we expect this soon – we will have obtained criminal reports based on international criminal standards, from which we can move into national and international courts to initiate lawsuits against the perpetrators of these crimes, and this is what we are working on at CVDCS,” he continued.
Regarding the campaign launched by the center, its spokesperson explained: “We launch an annual campaign to support these international efforts and recall the chemical weapons crimes that took place in Syria, which the center is working on documenting in cooperation with these international missions since 2013.”
Clarifying the importance of the campaign, al-Ahmad said: “It’s launched to hold the head of the Syrian regime accountable for his crimes. It is a moral obligation, and through it we call on the international community to assume its human and moral responsibilities, urging it to exert more effort in pursuing the producers and users of these weapons. Through this campaign we also want to achieve justice that has been long-awaited by the victims’ families.”
Answering a question regarding a Russia’s attempts to prevent issuing such reports, al-Ahmad stressed that the Russians are no longer able to disable the issuance of these reports, because the mechanism for forming international missions for OPCW has changed. “Previously, forming an investigation mechanism required a voting in the Security Council and this happened during the formation of the Joint Investigation Mechanism JIM, but today the decision of forming the IIT was made last year through a direct voting within the OPCW Executive Council, and with French and British support to avoid a Russian veto in the Security Council.
In a different context, media outlets have circulated leaks about an international intention for major political changes in Syria, and these changes will affect Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who killed around a million Syrians and displaced more than 10 million in a vicious war that he waged against his people to remain in power.
Perhaps these leaks came with the beginning of the countdown to the end of Assad’s mandate, which he had reached in a fake election 6 years ago and ending in the summer of 2021, according to the current Syrian constitution.
However, media is preoccupied with the name of an Assad successor, whether he will be from the Syrian opposition or from the regime’s figures, a military council or a transitional governing council.
Among those who talked about an imminent changing in Syria, is Dr. Kamal al-Labwani, a former leftist detainee.
In his speech to STEP agency, Dr. Labwani says: “There is an international consensus that Assad shall leave and a new figure from the Syrian regime shall be in his place soon, with no radical changes. The name of Ali Mamlouk has been circulated as a figure with significant external connections, who is working to get Iran out of Syria.”
“This information has been leaked from international administrations, because the case is ready, and it was leaked just to keep the Syrian opposition in the international scope aware of what is being said behind the scenes on the Syrian issue,” he adds.
He indicated that the name of Ali Mamlouk was not suggested to lead the next stage, but international pressures forced him to accept after threats of including his name in the international black lists if he refuses.
Al-Labwani points out that the countries concerned with the Syrian crisis had said explicitly to the opposition that they had no problem with Assad remaining in power; the only problem is the Iranian presence in Syria, as it is dangerous for Israel
Dr. “Labwani explains that the start of international negotiations regarding Assad’s resignation were complicated due to the Russians’ refusal, then, harsh sanctions were imposed on the Syrian regime and its supporters according to the recently issued Caesar Syrian Civilian Protection Act.
“Russians then realized that the change is coming, so they initially proposed assigning an Alawite officer from the Assad’s family, then they suggested an officer from the Alawite sect, and finally they found a figure from the Syrian regime to be agreed upon,” according to DR. Labwani.
He says that Assad offered a new peace agreement to Israel, attempting to preserve his reign, through which agreement he would hand the Golan Heights permanently to Israel. However, Israel reads the developments differently this time: It sees that Assad is no longer useful for it. And thus, Assad has burnt his last negotiation card.