Syrian opposition figure and activist Riad al-Turk passed away in France on January 1. It is with great sorrow that we salute the memory of this freedom worker, and we offer our heartfelt condolences to his family, loved ones, and fellow fighters for freedom and human rights.
Syria’s oldest political dissident, Riad al-Turk began his political activities in the 1950s and was renowned for his courage and free speech. He fought tirelessly for a free and democratic Syria in the face of the Syrian regime’s barbarity. His unwavering resolve never flagged, despite being tortured and spending 20 years in prison.
A signer of the 2005 Damascus Declaration calling for peaceful democratic reforms in Syria and an early supporter of the revolutionaries of 2011 who took up his battle for justice and dignity, he received asylum in France in 2018 for his activities to promote freedom.
Today France honors the memory of Riad al-Turk and reaffirms its commitment to a just, lasting, inclusive political solution to the Syrian conflict, the only way to bring about the free and democratic Syria that he fought for throughout his entire lifetime.
France continues to stand with the Syrian people. We strongly support efforts to move toward a lasting political solution based on the fight against impunity, in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 2254. It is the only way to achieve a lasting peace, which the Syrian people deserve and need so badly.