At the invitation of the Government of Saudi Arabia, the Syrian Revolution and Opposition forces held an expanded meeting on 9-10 December, in Riyadh, with the participation of men and women who represent the armed revolutionary factions and Syrian opposition groups both inside and abroad, hailing from all parts of Syrian society, including Arab, Kurds, Turkoman, Assyrians, Syriacs, Circassians, Armenians, and others, with the aim of uniting ranks and reaching a common vision for a negotiated political solution to the Syrian issue in accordance with Geneva Communique of 2012 and relevant international resolutions and without prejudice to the principles and the constants of the Syrian revolution.
The participants discussed the agenda amid an atmosphere of mutual respect and out of a profound sense of their historic responsibility towards the steadfast Syrian people. They exchanged views on crucial issues facing Syria and reviewed the relevant documents, including the November 14, 2015 ISSG statement from Vienna.
The participants expressed their commitment to the unity of Syrian territory and their belief in the civil character of the Syrian state in addition to its sovereignty over all Syrian territories based on the principle of administrative decentralization. They also voiced their commitment to the mechanism of democracy through a pluralistic system in which all Syrian groups, including both men and women, are represented, without discrimination or exclusion on the basis of religion, denomination, or ethnicity and to be based on the principles of nationality, human rights, transparency, accountability, and the rule of law as applied to all.
The participants pledged to work to preserve Syrian state institutions with the requirement that state security and military institutions be restructured. The participants also stressed their rejection of all forms and sources of terrorism, including the terrorism of the regime and its sectarian militias. They emphasized that legitimate Syrian state institutions, chosen by Syrian people through free and fair elections, have a monopoly on the use of force. The participants emphasized their rejection of the presence of foreign fighters—including those who have been naturalized for the purpose of killing the Syrian people, as well as militias, armed groups, and foreign armed forces on Syrian territories— and demanded the expulsion of these forces from the homeland.
The participants stressed that the solution to the Syrian crisis is first and foremost political, in accordance with international resolutions, and with the need for international guarantees. They stressed that political transition in Syria is the responsibility of Syrians, with support from the international community that does not conflict with national sovereignty, under the auspices of a legitimate and elected government. The participants agreed the goal of the political settlement is the establishment of a state based on the principle of citizenship with no place for Bashar al-Asad or the symbols and pillars of his regime in it or in any coming political arrangements.
The participants expressed their willingness to enter into negotiations with representatives of the Syrian regime based on the Geneva Communique of June 30, 2012 and the relevant international resolutions as an authoritative reference for the negotiations, under the auspices and the guarantee of the UN and with the support of the ISSG, within a fixed period of time to be agreed upon with the UN. The participants also agreed to form a delegation to negotiate with regime representatives, on the condition that members of the delegation forfeit the right to participate in the transitional governing body.
The participants demanded the UN and the international community compel the regime to implement measures to confirm its good intentions before the beginning of the negotiating process. These include the abrogation of capital punishment rulings against Syrians because of their opposition to the regime, which have no basis and lack legal legitimacy. These measures also include the release of prisoners and detainees, lifting sieges on besieged areas, allowing humanitarian convoys to reach those in need, the return of refugees, an immediate cessation of forced migration, and an end to targeting of civilian areas with barrel bombs and other means.
The participants stressed their commitment to implement the articles regarding the transitional period in Syria contained in the Geneva Communique. The participants also expressed their desire to implement a ceasefire according to the conditions to be agreed once transitional governance institutions are formed and within the framework of international legal guarantees. The participants stressed that Bashar al-Asad and his circle leave office at the beginning of the transitional period.
The participants expressed their acceptance and support of the role of the UN and the international community in overseeing the ceasefire, peacekeeping, distributing humanitarian aid, and coordinating rebuilding efforts in Syria.
At the conclusion of the meeting, participants agreed to form a High Negotiations Committee for the Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces (HNC), with its headquarters in Riyadh, to undertake the tasks of choosing a negotiating delegation and to act reference point for negotiators with the representatives of the Syrian regime on behalf of the participants.