Preparations for the meetings of the Syrian High Negotiations Committee (HNC) with opposition representatives in the Syrian Constitutional Committee have started in the Saudi Riyadh on Wednesday. These meetings are scheduled to be held for the first time in Geneva at the end of October.
HNC member Yahya Al-Aridi said that the names of the 15 members of the drafting and co-chairmanship of the Constitutional Committee had been named. Al-Aridi noted that the preparatory meetings in Riyadh would continue for five days.
Al-Arid told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that the former head of Syrian opposition coalition, Hadi Al-Bahra, was chosen by the opposition to head the Constitutional Committee. Further, he described “the division of the fifty members of the opposition in the Constitutional Committee into groups, each concerned with a part of the constitution drafting, and the formation of crews of advisors and experts in constitution and law in general.”
“The meeting is also concerned with identifying trends and strategies in various issues related to the work of the Constitutional Committee,” added Al-Aridi, pointing out that the UN Special Envoy to Syria Geir Pedersen will later meet with members of the Committee in Riyadh.
The Syrian Constitutional Committee is composed of 150 members, with one third for each the regime, the opposition and the United Nations. The Committee’s rules of procedure provide for the formation of a small committee of 45 members, with 15 members from each party.
Born in Damascus in 1959, Hadi Al-Bahra holds a Bachelor degree in Industrial Engineering from Wichita State University, USA.
He served as the President of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces and was the head of the negotiators in the Coalition delegation to Geneva. He is currently a member of the Syrian HNC and a member of the political body of the National Coalition.
Al-Bahra also held the position of Executive Director of Dr Erfan and Bagedo General Hospital in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in the period 1983–1987. He then became CEO of Horizon Commercial Development Company from 1987-2003, and then General Manager of Horizon International Exhibitions Company for the period 2004-2005. He then became CEO of Techno Media from 2005 to present.
Al-Bahra is fluent in English and has extensive experience in communication systems, display technology, and in all aspects of media production, conference organisation, and presentation and translation systems.
Pro-regime sources confirmed that the regime had chosen Dr Jamila Al-Sharbaji to preside the Constitutional Committee from its side. Al-Sharbaji is a teacher at the Faculty of Law – Damascus University and a member of the Supreme Constitutional Court. She holds a doctoral degree in constitutional law from Cairo University.
Al-Sharbaji was a member of the National Committee for the Drafting of Constitution set by the regime in 2012 and was a member of the regime’s delegation to the Geneva talks in 2016 and 2017.
A source in the Syrian Foreign Ministry said that the regime forces “are determined to confront any Turkish aggression, by all legitimate means.”
The source added, according to Reuters, that the government “is ready to embrace its lost citizens if they return to the path of conscious and good deeds,” in an apparent reference to Syrian Kurdish authorities controlling the northeast of the country.
“Turkey will soon make a move with a long-planned military operation in northern Syria, and US forces will not support this operation and will not participate in it,” said the White House in a statement on Monday.