The collapse of the current Assad-led regime will not be the end of the Syrian people’s revolution. The end of the regime will be only the start of a new and, hopefully, final phase of the people’s struggle for freedom. In order to ensure that the final phase succeeds the establishment of a new national model of governance based on respect for human dignity and a rebirth of Syria’s tremendous potential will be initiated. It is imperative that all nationalist forces commit to a course of action during the period of transition from authoritarianism that will fulfill the will of the people.
The Southern Front announces that it will dedicate its efforts during the period of transition following the collapse of the regime to supporting:
- First: The protection of all Syrian citizens, their property, and their rights without any distinction of religion, culture, ethnicity, or political affiliation in accordance with international humanitarian law and the international standards of human rights.
- Second: The maintenance of Syrian state institutions including all ministries and military institutions.
- Third: The integrity of the economic and service infrastructure of the state including telecommunications, energy, water, and public and private transportation networks.
- Fourth: The establishment of a process of inclusive, national, political reconstruction.
1. The Civil Defense Force
Once the Assad regime collapses, the Southern Front of the Free Syrian Army intends to transition from a military organization into a civilian defense force to contribute to establishing the appropriate conditions to enable a successful political transition in Syria. Among the primary objectives of a civilian defense force will be: protecting all citizens, maintaining all state institutions, and securing the infrastructure for the economic prosperity of the country.
The Joint Command of the Southern Front is currently preparing itself for the moment of transition and is committed to implementing a detailed day-after plan to protect Damascus (the seat of government), prevent looting, protect citizens and state employees, and ensure that governmental institutions remain fully operational.
2. The Transitional Administration
To guide the period of transition, the Southern Front will support efforts to establish a Transitional Administration. The Southern Front believes that no current state employees, identified for their competence and loyal service to the state, should be excluded from continuing to serve. In addition, the Transitional Administration should be open to senior defected government officials who return to the country to help in its reconstruction. The Southern Front — which by this time will have transformed into Civil Defense Forces — will support such an interim governing arrangement provided that it is non-political and led by technocrats whose terms will end upon the completion of the interim or transitional phase.
The first task of the Transitional Administration will be announcing the cessation of all military operations and demanding foreign fighters to leave the country within a specified period of time. The Transitional Administration will also take steps to ensure that state institutions continue their routine work. It will announce to government officials including the judicial authority that their work will be guaranteed within the framework of the General Law. The civilian police will be requested to continue their work. The armed forces will be requested to remain temporarily in their barracks until security and order restored.
The current constitution will be immediately suspended and replaced by the original Constitution of 1950 as an interim constitution until the drafting of a permanent constitution for the country that shall be approved by a popular referendum.
To ensure neutrality with respect to key decisions that need to be made during the critical transitional period, the Transitional Administration should issue an immediate appeal to the United Nations (UN) to form a “Syrian Transitional Phase Office” in Damascus as soon as possible with a special envoy of the UN Secretary General. This Office will be necessary to advise the Transitional Administration, coordinate foreign aid, and identify key requirements for the transition. It is also needed to recommend and supply experts and advisers to help rebuild the institutions of the state.
To ease the pressure on the Transitional Administration, and to benefit from the best Syrian minds and intellects in guiding the transition, the “Syrian Transitional Phase Office” will be requested to appoint a Syrian Advisory Committee composed of qualified professionals to draft a framework and plans for the transitional period, according to a specific timetable. The Office will also request the presence of a UN observer missions and specialist teams.
The key tasks for UN and the Syrian Advisory Committee will be:
- First: To establish a High Electoral Commission.
- Second: To oversee general elections to choose an “interim” legislative authority within six months, paving the way for the formation of a constituent committee for the drafting of the Constitution.
- Third: To form a constituent committee to draft the permanent Constitution for the country within one year.
- Fourth: To hold a public referendum on the Constitution after the completion of the work of the constituent committee.
- Fifth: To implement national elections for a new parliament and government.
All bodies formed by the “Syrian Transitional Phase Office” or by the Advisory Committee should be independent bodies. They should advise the Transitional Administration, but they should not be subject to it or overlap with it. The mandate of the Transitional Administration should be considered officially over after the holding of elections for a new parliament and government.
Long live free Syria!
— The Southern Front
- Hamza Division (Forqat al-Hamza)*
- The First Brigade
- Sword of al-Sham Brigades (Alwiyat Saif al-Sham)
- The First Legion
- Ummah Army (Jaysh al-Ummah)
- Fourqan Brigades
- Amoud Horan Brigade (Liwa’ Amoud Horan)
- Ahrar Nawa Division
- United Sham Front (Jabhat al-Sham Muwahidda)
- Martyrs of Islam Brigade (Liwa’ Shuhada al-Islam)
- Syrian Revolutionaries Front*
- Dawn of Islam Division (Forqat Fajr al-Islam)
- Quneitra Military Council
- Yarmouk Army (Jaysh al-Yarmouk)
- First Division
- Lions of Sunnah Brigade (Liwa’ Usood al-Sunnah)
*These two groups recently merged with the 1st Artillery Regiment (Al-Fauj al-Awwal Madfa’a) to create the First Army.