PETER HITCHENS: Amid the bombs of Aleppo, all you can hear are the lies

Peter Hitchens - 18 Dec 2016

In the past few days we have been bombarded with colourful reports of events in Aleppo, written or transmitted by people in Beirut or even London, writes Peter Hitchens

I am the opposite of a war junkie. I loathe the sound of fireworks because they remind me of a bloody night in Lithuania in January 1991, where I lay down in dirty snow to save my skin from Soviet bullets.

I was also frozen with fright in lawless, gang-ruled Mogadishu in December 1992, waiting for US marines to arrive.

In Bucharest at Christmas 1989, I crawled under the bed as tracer fire whizzed past my hotel-room window, and – because my long-delayed call home came through just then – I dictated my account of events to my wife. No heroics for me, thanks.

I was in all these dreadful places by accident. I never meant to be there. I take great care not to get caught in such things again.

But I learned a bit from it, mostly that the old cliche ‘the first casualty of war is truth’ is absolutely right, and should be displayed in letters of fire over every TV and newspaper report of conflict, for ever.

Almost nothing can be checked. You become totally reliant on the people you are with, and you identify with them.

If you can find a working phone, you will feel justified in shouting whatever you have got into the mouthpiece – as simple and unqualified as possible. And your office will feel justified in putting it on the front page (if you are lucky).

And that is when you are actually there, which is a sort of excuse for bending the rules.

In the past few days we have been bombarded with colourful reports of events in eastern Aleppo, written or transmitted by people in Beirut (180 miles away and in another country), or even London (2,105 miles away and in another world). There have, we are told, been massacres of women and children, people have been burned alive.

The sources for these reports are so-called ‘activists’. Who are they? As far as I know, there was not one single staff reporter for any Western news organisation in eastern Aleppo last week. Not one.

This is for the very good reason that they would have been kidnapped and probably murdered. The zone was ruled without mercy by heavily armed Osama Bin Laden sympathisers, who were bombarding the west of the city with powerful artillery (they frequently killed innocent civilians and struck hospitals, since you ask). That is why you never see pictures of armed males in eastern Aleppo, just beautifully composed photographs of handsome young unarmed men lifting wounded children from the rubble, with the light just right.

The women are all but invisible, segregated and shrouded in black, just as in the IS areas, as we saw when they let them out.

For reasons that I find it increasingly hard to understand or excuse, much of the British media refer to these Al Qaeda types coyly as ‘rebels’ (David Cameron used to call them ‘moderates’). But if they were in any other place in the world, including Birmingham or Belmarsh, they would call them extremists, jihadis, terrorists and fanatics. One of them, Abu Sakkar, famously cut out and sank his teeth into the heart of a fallen enemy, while his comrades cheered. This is a checked and verified fact, by the way.

Sakkar later confirmed it to the BBC, when Western journalists still had contact with these people, and there is film of it if you care to watch. There is also film of a Syrian ‘rebel’ group, Nour al-din al Zenki, beheading a 12-year-old boy called Abdullah Issa. They smirk a lot. It is on the behalf of these ‘moderates’ that MPs staged a wholly one-sided debate last week, and on their behalf that so many people have been emoting equally one-sidedly over alleged massacres and supposed war crimes by Syrian and Russian troops – for which I have yet to see a single piece of independent, checkable evidence.

When I used to travel a lot in the communist world, I especially hated the fact that almost every official announcement was a conscious lie, taunting the poor subjugated people with their powerlessness to challenge it. I would spend ages twiddling dials and shifting aerials to pick up the BBC World Service on my short-wave set – ‘the truth, read by gentlemen’ – because it refreshed the soul just to hear it. These days the state-sponsored lies have spread to my own country, and to the BBC, and I tell the truth as loudly as I can, simply because I cannot hear anyone else speaking it. If these lies go unchallenged, they will be the basis of some grave wrong yet to come.

Full text of Syria Pres al-Assad'in interview with the Serbian newspaper Politika

Interview Date: 3 Oct 2016

'United States and its Western allies are to blame for failure of latest ceasefire'

President Bashar al-Assad said that the United States and its Western allies are to blame for the failure of latest ceasefire, because terrorism and terrorists are for them a card they want to play on the Syrian arena.

In an interview given to the Serbian newspaper Politika, President al-Assad said that Russia is very serious and very determined to continue fighting the terrorists, while the Americans base their politics on a different value as they use the terrorists as a card to play the political game to serve their own interests at the expense of the interests of other countries in the world.

President al-Assad pointed out that Western countries wanted to use the humanitarian mask in order to have an excuse to intervene more in Syria, either militarily or by supporting the terrorists.

Following is the full text of the interview:

Question 1: Mr. President, why has the latest Syria ceasefire failed? Who is to blame for that?

President Assad: Actually, the West, mainly the United States, has made that pressure regarding the ceasefire, and they always ask for ceasefire only when the terrorists are in a bad situation, not for the civilians. And they try to use those ceasefires in order to support the terrorists, bring them logistic support, armament, money, everything, in order to re-attack and to become stronger again. When it didn’t work, they ask the terrorists to make it fail or to start attacking again. So, who’s to blame? It’s the United States and its allies, the Western countries, because for them, terrorists and terrorism are a card they want to play on the Syrian arena, it’s not a value, they’re not against terrorists. For them, supporting the terrorists is a war of attrition against Syria, against Iran, against Russia, that’s how they look at it. That’s why not only this ceasefire; every attempt regarding ceasefire or political moving or political initiative, every failure of these things, the United States was to be blamed.

Question 2: But which country is supporting terrorism? Saudi Arabia? Qatar?

President Assad: Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey…

Journalist: Turkey?

President Assad: Because they came through Turkey with the support of the government, direct support from the government.

Journalist: Directly?

President Assad: Direct support from the government, of course.

Journalist: With money or with armament?

President Assad: Let’s say, the endorsement, the greenlight, first. Second, the American coalition, which is called “international coalition,” which is an American. They could see ISIS using our oil fields and carrying the oil through the barrel trucks to Turkey under their drones…

Journalist: This is the Syrian oil?

President Assad: In Syria, from Syria to Turkey, under the supervision of their satellites and drones, without doing anything, till the Russians intervened and started attacking ISIS convoys and ISIS positions and strongholds. This is where ISIS started to shrink. So, the West gave the greenlight to those countries like Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, and actually those countries, those governments are puppets; puppets to the West, puppets to the United States, they work as puppets, and the terrorists in Syria are their proxy, the proxy of those countries and proxy of the West and the United States.

Question 3: But money for marketing this oil, who has the money? Turkey?

President Assad: In partnership between ISIS and Turkey. Part of the money goes to ISIS because this is how they can make recruitment and pay salaries to their fighters. That’s why ISIS was growing before the Russian intervention, it was expanding in Syria and in Iraq. And part of the money is going to the Turkish government officials, mainly Erdogan himself and his family.

Journalist: Erdogan himself?

President Assad: Of course, of course. They were directly involved in this trade with ISIS.

Question 4: Mr. President, do you believe the Russians and Americans can ever agree over Syria? Can Russia and the USA be partners in the war against terrorists in Syria?

President Assad: We hope, but in reality, no, for a simple reason: because the Russians based their politics on values, beside their interest. The values are that they adopt the international law, they fight terrorism, and the interest that if you have terrorists prevailing in our region, that will affect not only our region but Europe, Russia, and the rest of the world. So, the Russians are very serious and very determined to continue fighting the terrorists, while the Americans based their politics on a different value, completely different value, their value is that “we can use the terrorists.” I mean the Americans, they wanted to use the terrorists as a card to play the political game to serve their own interests at the expense of the interests of other countries in the world.

Question 5: The situation about bombing the Syrian Army near the airport in Deir Ezzor… How did the American air attack on the Syrian Army happen? Was it a coincidence or not?

President Assad: It was premeditated attack by the American forces, because ISIS was shrinking because of the Syrian and Russian and Iranian cooperation against ISIS, and because al-Nusra which is Al Qaeda-affiliated group had been defeated in many areas in Syria, so the Americans wanted to undermine the position of the Syrian Army; they attacked our army in Deir Ezzor. It wasn’t by coincidence because the raid continued more than one hour, and they came many times.

Journalist: One hour?

President Assad: More than one hour. There were many raids by the Americans and their allies against the Syrian position. At the same time, they attacked a very big area; they didn’t attack a building to say “we made a mistake.” They attacked three big hills, not other groups neighboring these hills, and only ISIS existed in Deir Ezzor. There is no… what they called it “moderate opposition.” So, it was a premeditated attack in order to allow ISIS to take that position, and ISIS attacked those hills, and took those hills right away in less than one hour after the attack.

Journalist: ISIS attacking Syrian position after American…?

President Assad: Less than one hour, in less than one hour, ISIS attacked those hills. It means that ISIS gathered their forces to attack those hills. How did ISIS know that the Americans would attack that Syrian position? It means they were ready, they were prepared. This is an explicit and stark proof that the Americans are supporting ISIS and using it as a card to change the balance according to their political agenda.

Journalist: And after that, America said sorry, huh?

President Assad: They said they regret, they didn’t say sorry. [laughs]

Question 6: Mr. President, who is responsible for the attack on the Red Cross convoy near Aleppo, and what weapons were used for the destruction of the Red Cross convoy?

President Assad: Definitely the terrorist groups in Aleppo, because those are the ones who had an interest. When we announced the truce in Aleppo, they refused it. They said “no, we don’t want a truce.” They refused to have any convoys coming to eastern Aleppo, and that was public, it’s not our propaganda, it’s not our announcement, they announced it. And there was a demonstration by those militants to refuse that convoy. So, they have interest in attacking that convoy, we don’t have. It wasn’t in an area where you have Syrian troops, and at the same time there were no Syrian or Russian airplanes flying in that area anyway. But it was used as part of the propaganda, as part of the narrative against Syria in the West; that we attacked this humanitarian convoy, because the whole war now in Syria, according to the Western propaganda, is taking the shape of humanitarian war. This is the Western mask now; they wanted to use the humanitarian mask in order to have an excuse to intervene more in Syria, and when I say intervene it means militarily or by supporting the terrorists.

Journalist: This is like the situation in former Yugoslavia, in the war in Yugoslavia, also in the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in the war in Kosovo, humanitarian problems.

President Assad: It’s a different era, maybe, a different shape, but the same core, what happened in your country, and what’s happening now in our country.

Question 7: And the Western propaganda spoke about the problem of using the chemical weapons and the barrel bombs.

President Assad: The same, to show that you have a black-and-white picture; very very bad guy against very very good guy. It’s like the narrative of George W. Bush during the war on Iraq and on Afghanistan. So, they wanted to use those headlines or those terms in their narrative in order to provoke the emotions of the public opinion in their countries. This is where the public opinion would support them if they wanted to interfere, either directly through military attacks, or through supporting their proxies that are the terrorists in our region.

Question 8: I see the news in the last days, the Amnesty International condemned a terrorist group for using the chlorine, the chemical weapons in Aleppo.

President Assad: In Aleppo, exactly, that happened a few days ago, and actually, regardless of these chemical attacks, we announced yesterday that the terrorists killed during the last three days more than 80 innocent civilians in Aleppo, and wounded more than 300. You don’t read anything about them in the Western mainstream media. You don’t see it, you don’t hear about it, there’s nothing about them. They only single out some pictures and some incidents in the area under the control of the terrorists just to use them for their political agenda in order to condemn and to blame the Syrian government, not because they are worried about the Syrians; they don’t care about our children, or about innocents, and about civilization, about infrastructure. They don’t care about it; they are destroying it. But actually, they only care about using everything that would serve their vested interests.

Question 9: And now, your army… you are the supreme commander of Syrian military forces. Your army now has not any chemical weapons?

President Assad: No, we don’t. Since 2013, we gave up our arsenals. Now, no we don’t have. But before that, we have never used it. I mean, when you talk about chemical weapons used by the government, it means you are talking about thousands of casualties in one place in a very short time. We never had this kind of incidents; just allegations in the Western media.

Question 10: Mr. President, when do you think the Syrian war will end?

President Assad: When? I always say less than one year is enough for you to solve your internal problem, because it is not very complicated internally. It’s becoming more complex only when you have more interfering by foreign powers. When those foreign powers leave Syria alone, we can solve it as Syrians in a few months, in less than one year. That’s very simple, we can, but providing that there’s no outside interference. Of course, that looks not realistic, because everybody knows that the United States wanted to undermine the position of Russia as a great power in the world, including in Syria. Saudi Arabia has been looking how to destroy Iran for years now, and Syria could be one of the places where they can achieve that, according to their way of thinking. But if we say that we could achieve that situation where all those foreign powers leave Syria alone, we don’t have a problem in solving our problem.

How? First of all, by stopping the support of the terrorists by external countries like the regional ones like Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, and by the West, of course, mainly the United States. When you stop supporting terrorists in Syria, it won’t be difficult at all to solve our problem.

Question 11: Mr. President, is it true that Syria is the last socialistic country in the Arab world?

President Assad: Today, yes. I don’t know about the future, how is it going to be. We are socialist, but of course not the closed type.

Journalist: Humane socialism, because your government is supporting the education with the subvention, like the Swedish-type socialism.

President Assad: I don’t know a lot about the Swedish-type, but let’s say that in Syria, we have an open economy, but at the same time we have a strong public sector, and that public sector played a very important role in the resilience of the Syrian society and the government during the war. Without that public sector, the situation would have been much more difficult. So, we’re still socialist, and I think the war proved that the socialism system is very important for any country, taking into consideration that I’m talking about the open socialism, that could allow the freedom of the public sector to play a vital role in building the country.

Question 12: And your big companies… this is the state companies or private companies?

President Assad: We have both. But usually in such a situation, the public sector always plays the most important part. As you know, the private sector could feel the danger more and could suffer more and in some areas could quit the whole arena, the economic arena, because of the insecurity. So, that’s why you have to depend in such a situation more on the public sector, but still the private sector in Syria plays a very important part beside the public.

Question 13: And you have very very tolerance atmosphere with other churches, Christians, Muslims, and…

President Assad: It’s not tolerance, actually; they are part of this society. Without all different colors of the society – Christians, Muslims, and the different sects and ethnicities – you won’t have Syria. So, every Syrian citizen should feel fully free in practicing his rituals, his traditions, his beliefs. He should be free in order to have a stable country. Otherwise you won’t have Syria as a stable country. But I wouldn’t call it tolerance. Tolerance means like we accept something against our will; no, Muslims and Christians lived together for centuries in Syria, and they integrate in their life on daily basis, they don’t live in ghettos.

Question 14: No separate schools for Muslims, for Christians, young people, no?

President Assad: No, no. You have some schools that belong to the church, but they are full of Muslims and vice versa. So, you don’t have, no. We don’t allow any segregation of religions and ethnicities in Syria, that would be very dangerous, but naturally, without the interference of the government, people would like to live with each other in every school, in every place, in every NGO, in the government, that is the natural… That’s why Syria is secular by nature, not by the government. The Syrian society has been secular throughout history.

Question 15: And, Mr. President, it’s been one year since Russian air forces took part in the Syrian war, how much has Russia helped you?

President Assad: Let’s talk about the reality. Before the Russian interference, ISIS was expanding, as I said. When they started interfering, ISIS and al-Nusra and the other Al Qaeda affiliated groups started shrinking. So, this is the reality. Why? Of course, because it’s a great power and they have great army and they have great firepower that could support the Syrian Army in its war. The other side of the same story is that when a great country, a great power, like Russia, intervene against the terrorists, in coordination with the troops on the ground, and in our case, it’s the Syrian Army, of course you’re going to achieve concrete results, while if you talk about the American alliance, which is not serious anyway, but at the same time they don’t have allies on the ground, they cannot achieve anything. So, the Russian power was very important beside their political weight on the international arena, in both ways they could change the situation, and they were very important for Syria in defeating the terrorists in different areas on the Syrian arena or battlefield.

Question 16: Is the Syrian society divided by the war today?

President Assad: Actually, it’s more homogenous than before the war. That could be surprising for many observers because the war is a very deep and important lesson for every Syrian. Many Syrians before the war didn’t tell the difference between being fanatic and being extremist, between being extremist and being terrorist. Those borders weren’t clear for many, because of the war, because of the destruction, because of the heavy price that affected every Syrian, many Syrians learned the lesson and now they know that the only way to protect the country and to preserve the country is to be homogenous, to live with each other, to integrate, to accept, to love each other. That’s why I think the effect of the war, in spite of all the bad aspects of any war like this war, but this aspect was positive for the Syrian society. So, I’m not worried about the structure of the Syrian society after the war. I think it’s going to be healthier.

Question 17: And a question about the American presidential elections; who would you like to win in USA presidential elections, Trump or Hillary?

President Assad: I think in most of the world, the debate about this election is who’s better, Clinton is better or Trump. In Syria, the discussion is who’s worse, not who’s better. So, no one of them, I think, would be good for us, let’s say, this is first. Second, from our experience with the American officials and politicians in general, don’t take them at their word, they’re not honest. Whatever they say, don’t believe them. If they say good word or bad word, if they were very aggressive or very peaceful, don’t believe them. It depends on the lobbies, on the influence of different political movements in their country, after the election that’s what is going to define their policy at that time. So, we don’t have to waste our time listening to their rhetoric now. It’s just rubbish. Wait for their policies and see, but we don’t see any good signs that the United States is going to change dramatically its policy toward what’s happening in the world, let’s say, to be fair, or to obey the international law, or to care about the United Nation’s Charter. There’s no sign that we are going to see that in the near future. So, it’s not about who’s going to be President; the difference will be very minimal, each one of them is going to be allowed to leave his own fingerprint, just personal fingerprint, but doesn’t mean change of policies. That’s why we don’t pin our hopes, we don’t waste our time with it.

Question 18: Mr. President, the last question: The relation between Serbia and Syria, do you have any message for people in Serbia?

President Assad: I think we didn’t do what we have to do on both sides in order to make this relation in a better position, before the war. Of course, the war will leave its effects on the relation between every two countries, that would be understandable, but we have to plan for the next time because your country suffered from external aggression that led to the division of Yugoslavia and I think the people are still paying the price of that war. Second, the war in your country has been portrayed in the same way; as a humanitarian war where the West wanted to intervene in order to protect a certain community against the aggressors form the other community. So, many people in the world believe that story, the same in Syria; they use the same mask, the humanitarian mask.

Actually, the West doesn’t care about your people, they don’t care about our people, they don’t care about anyone in this world, they only care about their own vested interest. So, I think we have the same lessons, may be a different area, we are talking about two decades’ difference, maybe different headlines, but actually the content is the same. That’s why I think we need to build more relations in every aspect; cultural, economy, politics, in order to strengthen our position, each country in his region.

Question 19: But Syrian government, you and Syria’s state, supporting Serbia in the problem of the Kosovo?

President Assad: We did, we did, although the Turks wanted to use their influence for Kosovo, in Kosovo’s favor, but we refused. That was before the war, that was seven or eight years ago, and we refused, in spite of the good relation with Turkey at that time. We supported Serbia.

Journalist: Mr. President, thank you for the interview, thank you for your time.

President Assad: Not at all. Thank you for coming to Damascus.


Conversations from Syria ... by Gail Malone

Musings on Syrian soldiers in the Syria you never see

This is a guest post to Australian Voice by Gail Malone, a peace activist who recently visited Syria. She describes it as "just a touristy thing about soldiers."

...and when we die, we die standing like trees.
Nassif Zeytoun-Haweety

I decided to write my impressions of the Syrian Army, as they are demonized ad nauseam in the Western media. What one needs to understand is that these men and women are not 'Assad's' troops, they are the sons and daughters of Syria, no horns or tails in sight. They are ordinary Syrians in an extraordinary battle for their secular Motherland, to maintain her sovereignty and their cultural heritage which dates back millennia. It's a battle of biblical proportions to retain Syria intact, in all her glorious diversity. We live in a time where lies are taken as fact and those speaking the truth are insulted with ad hominem attacks, but never with real evidence. Those that speak for free speech can find 'no platform' for those that don't maintain the narrative.

We are to believe everything the US tell us, without any evidence. We are not to believe Syria or Russia, regardless of indisputable evidence. This brave army needs the recognition it deserves and a little humanisation in the Western gaze. One only need read Syrian history to understand Syria will never kneel. The entire planet should be thankful to these brave troops in their fight against international terrorism, and think long and hard before throwing MSM lies into debates. Lives are in the balance. Vive the Syrian Armed Forces, if there is a God, he is surely on their side.

Our hotel in Latakia

Driving back to our hotel in Latakia, one of a number of regular checkpoints came up and the soldier looked in checking our faces and said; "Welcome, I hate Obama." "So do we", I replied. He laughed, waved and waved us on. On we drove to our hotel, the coalition of the unwilling, Janice a hawk and me a pacifist. Somehow we met in the middle in Syria.

In a village in the mountains of Latakia, where we stopped to eat, that's an entire

A gifted carnation

epicurean delight story, with a tandoor and family recipes. Out of the blue a soldier, a fine stamp of a man, gave us 2 two wee crimson carnations, also saying welcome. A random act of kindness.

Our driver giggling with/at us, as we drove through the desert. Checking his tyres, at every stop, worried, as it's not easy to replace them. So to the cracked windscreen, a gift from a terrorist's mortar. The sanctions, you know. After all he'd seen, his eyes still sparkled when he laughed. He effortlessly made us all laugh with this quiet charm and humour. A perfectly odd bunch were we, and we trusted him with our lives.

We sat with soldiers who had helped save Ma'loula from continued terrorist occupation. They were not soldiers then, they were men protecting their ancient village, besieged by outsiders and the inevitable traitors who could be bought. They had one policeman and were raided before the so-called 'peaceful' protests had even started. We were by the church that had been built on a pagan temple, the marble altar remained, with its raised

Mal'loula, a day trip from Damascus

sides to hold the blood of sacrifices, its drain hole filled. On a balcony we took tea and listened as they told us the stories of Ma'loula, where Aramaic is still spoken. After, we were escorted on a walk round the area, where great strides had been made rebuilding the damage. It was breathtaking.

Then there was the checkpoint leaving Ma'loula, where early into the crisis, soldiers had been martyred at the hand of takfiris. No way we were going anywhere, regardless of our schedule, without eating small green apples with them. They were so good, still glistening from being freshly washed for us.

Old stone house in Kassab, with ocean views

More soldiers escorted us in Kassab. Wow what a place! Where the mountains meet the Mediterranean. Before we went sight-seeing we were given a ubiquitous coffee. Hospitality in Syria is not the sole preserve of the hospitality industry, it permeates Syrian society. We, in Australia could learn a lot about gracious hospitality from Syria. What we saw in natural magnificence is hard to describe, such a surprise. Kassab is on the border of Turkey, from whence the terrorists came to the village. It's basically an Armenian area, catering to tourists in both summer and winter.

I can still see the deep dark eyes across the dining table of our new friend as we ate at the Mona Lisa Restaurant in Old Damascus. His stories were related without ego or bravado, just as a matter of fact as he showed his battle scars. The following morning I saw his exhausted body sprawled out across a comfy bed, in our friend's room ... out like a light, fully dressed.

The Damascus Sword, Umayyad Square

After a visit to the Opera House in Damascus, we met a wounded soldier in a wheelchair at its gates. He was happy to speak with us and welcome us to Syria. The night before there had been an attack, as is often the case resulting in death, lives shattered like the glass of the 'Sword' across the street.

One goes through an awful lot of checkpoints in Syria. There's a war of attrition against the Syrian people, the cruel sanctions are just one part of the wearing down of Syrian society. Still, we were never treated without a welcome nod or wave. Many ... too many were boys, much younger than my own sons and at least one grandson. They don't have air conditioning and ice cream machines like US soldiers. Nights in the desert must be unbearable, it gets so cold and rations are minimal. The long days in the heat just as bad, enough to make anyone a little cranky, and if they were a cranky, they didn't show it. They don't transverse Syria in matching Toyota Hiluxes. You'll see them in farm trucks and other sundry vehicles. The terrorists are also paid more than the Syrian Army. It's nice to have friends in high places, especially ones with a seemingly endless supply of weapons. They also pay the highest price in the crisis, an anomaly in post 9/11 wars where 90% of casualties are civilians. Women often travel to the front lines to feed their troops. They are grateful of their presence, praying mothers elsewhere do the same for their sons and daughters. Our media never allows this to be known.

These men and women kept us safe, as they do all Syrians, where ever humanly possible. We, from two aggressor nations, traveled around secure in the fact they were present. The Australian Forces are in Syria illegally, as are her citizen jihadis that make their way in droves to Syria. The Syrian Army's presence made it possible for us to travel to certain areas in relative safety. They also keep the people who live in these liberated areas as safe as possible, given the circumstances. Although the cruel sanctions really bite, life goes on. I have nothing but respect for the Syrian armed forces, their allies and the people.

I also know the berating I'll receive. "You went to government held areas, you're bought and paid for." It's all that ridiculous. Well, yes I went to government held areas, I make no apologies for that. That's where the majority of the Syrian people are. The majority of Syrians chose to be where civilization still exists. They chose colour, dance, music, smoking nargile and great food. They chose life over Wahhabism. Why is that so hard to fathom? Why are the majority of Syrian voices silenced? Their Armed Forces defend their right to be free. It's time to stop calling them Assad's forces. They're Syrian Soldiers. This is not about who does or doesn't support who, it's about peace and the self-determination of the Syrian people. All countries that aren't in Syria to help, need to stop hindering.

Putin Valdai 2016 Speech, Part 1 of 2

Putin Valdai Speech ]

Published on Oct 28, 2016

Vladimir Putin's annual address at the Valdai Discussion Club, held in Sochi, Russian Federation. This year hosted by Professor of Russian Studies, Timothy Colton, at Harvard University. All leading journalists as well as scholars, both Russian and international, are invited to attend - whether they do is another matter. This is of course not the first time he says such things - in fact, Putin has been saying them for many years. 

Check out Part 2: Putin confronts the 'New World Order' (Valdai Part 2 of 2)

Or the infamous:

"Who created ISIS?" - Putin, at Valdai 2014

"Putin's urgent message to the West" - Valdai 2014

"Putin on the Global Elite", Valdai 2015
Through the total control over global media, Putin talks about the way that niche interests of the financial elite are being portrayed as the interests of all of humanity.



DAN WRIGHT - 13 October 2016

On August 17, 2014, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sent an email to then-Counselor to the President John Podesta concerning American foreign policy in the Middle East. The email, now published by Wikileaks, offers Clinton’s views on how to deal with ISIS and navigate the various players in the region.

One piece of information in the email that is likely to cause serious concern is Clinton affirming the role US allies Saudi Arabia and Qatar played in supporting and promoting ISIS. Clinton told Podesta, “While this military/para-military operation is moving forward, we need to use our diplomatic and more traditional intelligence assets to bring pressure on the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which are providing clandestine financial and logistic support to ISIL and other radical Sunni groups in the region.”

The Saudis have vehemently denied supporting ISIS. In fact, in June of 2014, the Saudi government severely rebuked then-Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki for suggesting the Saudis supported ISIS, labeling the claim a “malicious falsehood.” Apparently, Maliki was on to something.

John Podesta and his family have extensive financial ties to Saudi Arabia. The Podesta Group, co-founded by John and now run by his brother Tony, was at one point being paid $140,000 a month by the Saudis, with Tony personally managing the Saudi account.

Hillary Clinton had good reason to be clandestine about her views of Saudi Arabia at the time. As secretary of state, she presided over one of the largest defense deals in history. It was with the Saudis and it was worth $29 billion. The historic arms deal happened as the Saudis were giving millions to the Clinton Foundation.

The weapons sold under the deal are currently being used for war crimes in Yemen. The Saudis recently launched an attack on a funeral in Yemen, using a US-manufactured 500-pound laser-guided bomb. US-made cluster bombs have also shown up on the battlefield, which were part of the Clinton-negotiated arms deal.

In the leaked email, Clinton called ISIS’ success an “opportunity” to change strategies on US foreign policy in the Middle East and to demonstrate, particularly to Turkey, that “we are willing to take serious actions, which can be sustained to protect our national interests.”

Clinton also continually references the Free Syrian Army (FSA) as “moderate” rebels in Syria worthy of US support. By the end of 2014, FSA was mostly disbanded and currently no longer exists as a factor on the ground. It was overtaken by jihadists groups like Al Qaeda-linked Al-Nusra (now Fateh Al-Sham), which is currently receiving US weapons. What could go wrong?

The email also will likely lead to some damage assessments. Clinton makes references to a clandestine source in Libya and also emailed Podesta’s gmail account from her unsecured personal server.

‘Death is everywhere’: Syrian sister describes agony of Aleppo Christians bombarded by terrorists

17 October 2016

A Syrian religious sister has described life for Aleppo Christians under attack from rebels and jihadists opposed to the government of Bashar Al Assad.

Catholic Sister Annie Demerjian said that the relentless shelling of civilian areas of western part of the city, where all of Aleppo’s Christians are sheltering, meant that “death is everywhere”.

Speaking in St Columba’s Church, Chester, Sister Annie described how either Syrian rebels or international jihadists belonging to either the so-called Islamic State or the Al Nusra Front – formerly an affiliate of Al Qaeda – chose Easter Saturday to bombard Christian civilians who are surrounded in Syria’s largest city.

She said that at least four entire families were killed by a shower of 12 rockets and she also described the agony of families trying to find the body parts of loved ones so they could bury them.

The member of the Sisters of Jesus and Mary told how she found one man weeping because he had discovered his daughter’s hand more than two weeks after she and her husband and two children were killed in a rocket attack.

She said: “Death is everywhere and destruction does not exclude a building, a street, a school, a hotel or a mosque.

“Imagine children sitting at their desks and a shell falls blowing off the doors and shattering the windows.

“Imagine teachers running to find children huddled in remote corners while outside people are killed and their neighbours run to the school looking for their children.”

She said there were many casualties with one Christian child recently losing both legs and both arms in a rebel attack.

“People are tired,” Sister Annie said.

“Give us a moment of peace and security,” she continued. “In everyday life we are familiar with death.”

Sister Annie is in the UK as a guest of the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) and was this week due to address MPs and peers at an event in Parliament.

In Aleppo, she helps to deliver emergency assistance to about 550 Christian households – especially to the sick and elderly – on behalf of ACN.

During her public addresses the sister has deliberately avoided making any political remarks about the six-year conflict, insisting that what the people of her country most needed was peace.

But in an interview with Catholic News Service, an American press agency, she last week expressed the view that media reporting of the war in the West was biased in favour of the jihadists.

She questioned why the focus of outrage was on the suffering of one side of the conflict and not the other.

“There are shells and bombs from everywhere falling all over Aleppo. Both sides are suffering,” she said, adding that western media coverage was “not fair”.

“We don’t see a balance,” she said. “Last week nobody spoke about a (Christian) woman who pulled her son from a balcony without his head, and just a river of blood coming out of his neck.”

She said the adult son had rushed outside when a rebel shell had landed nearby and he heard shouts in the street.

His head was blown off was struck by a second shell. “His mother was crying ‘come in, come in’,” said Sister Annie. “She pulled him to find he had no head.”

She continued: “Nobody spoke about that, nothing. There are many stories like that. It is very painful when shells are falling in residential areas. Many people die.

“Sometimes their families and friends have to collect the pieces of the bodies – a hand here, a leg there, body parts in other places – but nobody is talking about it,” she said.

“Why is the world silent about it? People don’t know what is happening.”

‘Distastrous’ interventions

The comments of Sister Annie come as Britain and the US ratchet up their criticism of the bombardment by Syrian forces of rebel and terrorist positions with the help of Russian jets.

Assad is determined to defeat more than a 1,000 jihadists who have entrenched themselves in civilian areas of eastern Aleppo while they attack government regions on the western side of the city.

Media in the West has repeatedly run stories about the child casualties of the bombardment while the US, the UK and France have suggested that Russia and Syria may be committing war crimes.

Russia has rejected the allegations insisting instead that it was “achieving results” against terrorists when western military intervention was failing.

Major General Igor Konashenkov of the Russian Ministry of Defence issued a statement in response to criticism from the British Government which asked: “Where was Great Britain when ISIS almost reached the shores of the Mediterranean, almost turning Syria into a terrorist caliphate – in the same way that happened in Libya thanks to your efforts?”

As Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson hosted a meeting on Syria with his counterparts, the Stop the War Coalition described western “sabre rattling” as irresponsible.

A spokeswoman said: “The situation in Syria is critical. Foreign military interventions, notably by the US, Britain, Saudi Arabia and Russia, are prolonging the war and the misery of the Syrian people.

“Most of the people who are leading the clamour for western escalation in Parliament, including MPs Ann Clywd, Andrew Mitchell, John Woodcock and Johnson himself, have voted for every war they could over the last 15 years. Given the disasters caused by intervention in Iraq, Libya and now Syria, this should in itself discount their opinions on matters of war.”

She added: “What is needed in Syria is not more bombs and intervention but de-escalation and a concerted push for a negotiated settlement. Boris Johnson’s outbursts and other calls for military action damage the chances of peace and must end.”

The ACN North West event also heard an address by Archbishop Sebastian Shaw of Lahore, Pakistan, who spoke of his hopes that inter-faith dialogue would help to ease the persecution of Christians in his country.

“The blasphemy law is being misused against Christians and that must stop,” he said, adding that because the Christian faith could not condone paying “evil with evil” the solution to the persecution was dialogue with the Muslim majority.

Meetings, he said, had been held with many senior Muslim scholars and imams in the hope of achieving change.

“We explained that they (the meetings) were not to convert anybody and it was not about a western agenda, but to learn from one another – what you believe and what we believe,” said Archbishop Shaw.

“It is a success,” he said.

“This is the beginning,” the archbishop continued. “But one thing is vital for this type of dialogue and that is we should know what we believe. We must know who Christ is and what his teachings are.”

(Photos by Simon Caldwell)


White Helmets: Instrument for regime change in Syria?

By CHRISTINA LIN - October 24, 2016

The increasing US trend of weaponizing human rights is threatening a rules-based liberal order. The systematic corrosion of these international norms with attendant disastrous consequences has been demonstrated in Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen and Somalia.

Ironically in Libya, after US/NATO invoked Responsibility to Protect to violently overthrow Muammar Qaddafi’s government, it was Qaddafi loyalists that rescued US embassy personnel while suspected extremists affiliated with US-backed rebels that were not thoroughly vetted murdered Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans in a tragic illustration of “blowback.” Former head of Defense Intelligence Agency General Michael T. Flynn revealed then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arranged for Qatar to ship arms to al Qaeda-aligned Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) as the rebel opposition, which later attacked the West.

Now, Washington is again repeating this destructive pattern and invoking human rights rationale to overthrow the Syrian government, based on reporting from the White Helmets—a Syrian Civil Defense organization created by the US and UK in 2013.

Documenting human rights abuses to legitimize military invasion

Some controversies surround the White Helmets. In 2016 it was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize as brave men and women of Syria Civil Defense who rescue people to save lives during a war. However, as Jonathan Gornall portrayed in The National, there has also been disturbing reports that White Helmets is a US/UK propaganda tool to weaponize human rights for regime change in Syria as in Libya.

There exist some uncomfortable truths. Despite stating it is independent and not supported by any government, White Helmets is funded through US State Department’s USAID to the tune of US$23 million, and US$29 million from the UK government. Various disturbing videos and photos have also emerged of White Helmet members carrying weapons, celebrating with Al Qaeda when they defeat the Syrian army in battles, and standing by to watch as rebel jihadists conduct executions and then immediately rushing forward to place the body in body bags.

Its credibility took a hit when in April the leader, Raed Saleh, had his visa to the US revoked for suspected ties to terrorists. Senator Ron Paul’s Institute’s reports that the real Syrian Civil Defense, registered and in existence for 63 years since 1953, had never heard of the White Helmets until recently further damaged their legitimacy as a Syrian humanitarian NGO.

In fact, the real Syria Civil Defense is a founding member of the ICDO (International Civil Defense Organization), and other ICDO partners include the UN Department of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Secretarian of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR), International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG), World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations of Geneva (UNOG), Red Cross and the Red Crescent. It has an actual number to call inside Syria—113.

By contrast, the US/UK created White Helmet is not a member of ICDO, nor is there a listed public phone number to call. They are only present in Al Nusra and armed opposition territory in Idlib and East Aleppo, and the sole source that is filming and documenting alleged war crimes in Aleppo that is being fed to western media.

Their co-mingling with Al Qaeda and photos of numerous members as armed jihadists, coupled with the recent Berlin airport bomber suspect also being a White Helmet member from Idlib, has cast doubt on their credibility as an impartial humanitarian NGO. According to a former director of the US Congressional Task Force for Counter terrorism and Unconventional Warfare, he confirmed the White Helmets is “largely a ploy for instigating Libya-style western ‘humanitarian intervention’ (R2P in short). They are a propaganda entity rather than a civil defense…[and] provide the Western media what they want in order to push their line.”

And that line is regime change in Syria.

Increasing “Saudization” of US mideast policy

Nonetheless, despite Germany naming US-backed rebel group Ahrar al Sham as a terrorist organization and former Italian prime minister Franco Frattini voicing concerns that a no fly zone for regime change would protect al-Nusra, US continues to support these al-Qaeda groups as legitimate “opposition.” This prompted Frattini to accuse Americans of pandering to Saudi Arabia and Qatar’s agenda, echoing investigative reporter Gareth Porter’s criticism that Washington allows US policy to be determined by Wahhabi ambitions.

He noted former Hillary Clinton aide Derek Chollet in his new book The Long Game, revealed that Clinton and CIA director Leon Panetta were pushing to arm Syrian opposition force solely to give US “leverage” with its Sunni allies by acquiring “skin in the game,” not that it was some well-thought out plan to resolve the Syrian crisis. Former US ambassador Robert Ford also observed that “For a long time the administration ‘looked the other way’ while the US supported jihadists that were coordinating with Al Qaeda,” including the State Department despite knowledge that Qatar and Saudi Arabia were providing funding and logistical support to ISIS and other terrorist groups in the region.

As such this made the US complicit in the Wahhabi project of using Salafi terrorists to maximize pressure for overthrowing the Syrian government although Syria had never attacked the US, while supporting Al Qaeda groups (ISIS is new name for Al Qaeda in Iraq while al Nusra is al Qaeda in Syria) actually directly harms US national security.

However, whether current US strategy of weaponizing human rights would turn into a full-scale war would likely be decided in the November elections—and the next president’s decision to escalate the conflict via a no fly zone against Russia and her Eurasian allies.

Dr. Christina Lin is a Fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations at SAIS-Johns Hopkins University where she specializes in China-Middle East/Mediterranean relations, and a research consultant for Jane’s Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Intelligence Centre at IHS Jane’s.


Syrian Arab Republic: Constitution, 2012

Syria: constitution, 2012
Chapter 1: Basic Principles
Chapter 2: Rights, Freedoms and the Rule of Law
Chapter 3: State Authorities
Chapter 4: The Supreme Constitutional Court
Chapter 5: Amending the Constitution
Chapter 6: General and Transitional Provisions

Arab civilization, which is part of human heritage, has faced through its long history great challenges aimed at breaking its will and subjecting it to colonial domination, but it has always rose through its own creative abilities to exercise its role in building human civilization.
The Syrian Arab Republic is proud of its Arab identity and the fact that its people are an integral part of the Arab nation. The Syrian Arab Republic embodies this belonging in its national and pan-Arab project and the work to support Arab cooperation in order to promote integration and achieve the unity of the Arab nation.
The Syrian Arab Republic considers international peace and security a key objective and a strategic choice, and it works on achieving both of them under the International Law and the values of right and justice.
The Syrian Arab role has increased on the regional and international levels over the past decades, which has led to achieving human and national aspirations and achievements in all fields and domains. Syria has occupied an important political position as it is the beating heart of Arabism, the forefront of confrontation with the Zionist enemy and the bedrock of resistance against colonial hegemony on the Arab world and its capabilities and wealth. The long struggle and sacrifices of our people for the sake of its independence, progress and national unity has paved the way for building the strong state and promoting cohesion between the people and their Syrian Arab army which is the main guarantor and protector of the homeland's sovereignty, security, stability and territorial integrity; thus, forming the solid foundation of the people's struggle for liberating all occupied territories.
The Syrian society with all its components and constituents and through its popular, political and civil institutions and organizations, has managed to accomplish achievements that demonstrated the depth of civilizational accumulation represented by the Syrian society, its unwavering will and its ability to keep pace with the changes and to create the appropriate environment to maintain its human role as a historical and effective power in the march of human civilization.
Since the beginning of the 21st century, Syria, both as people and institutions had faced the challenge of development and modernization during tough regional and international circumstances which targeted its national sovereignty. This has formed the incentive to accomplish this Constitution as the basis for strengthening the rule of law.
The completion of this Constitution is the culmination of the people's struggle on the road to freedom and democracy. It is a real embodiment of achievements, a response to shifts and changes, an evidence of organizing the march of the state towards the future, a regulator of the movement of its institutions and a source of legislation. All of this is attainable through a system of fundamental principles that enshrines independence, sovereignty and the rule of the people based on election, political and party pluralism and the protection of national unity, cultural diversity, public freedoms, human rights, social justice, equality, equal opportunities, citizenship and the rule of law, where the society and the citizen are the objective and purpose for which every national effort is dedicated. Preserving the dignity of the society and the citizen is an indicator of the civilization of the country and the prestige of the state.
Chapter 1: Basic Principles
Part 1: Political principles 
Article 1
The Syrian Arab Republic is a democratic state with full sovereignty, indivisible, and may not waive any part of its territory, and is part of the Arab homeland; The people of Syria are part of the Arab nation.
Article 2
The system of governance in the state shall be a republican system; Sovereignty is an attribute of the people; and no individual or group may claim sovereignty. Sovereignty shall be based on the principle of the rule of the people by the people and for the people; The People shall exercise their sovereignty within the aspects and limits prescribed in the Constitution.
Article 3
The religion of the President of the Republic is Islam; Islamic jurisprudence shall be a major source of legislation; The State shall respect all religions, and ensure the freedom to perform all the rituals that do not prejudice public order; The personal status of religious communities shall be protected and respected.
Article 4
The official language of the state is Arabic.
Article 5
The capital of the state is Damascus.
Article 6
The flag of the Syrian Arab Republic consists of three colors: red, white and black, in addition to two stars, each with five heads of green color. The flag is rectangular in shape; its width equals two thirds of its length and consists of three rectangles evenly spaced along the flag, the highest in red, the middle in white and lowest in black, and the two stars are in the middle of the white rectangle; The law identifies the state's emblem, its national anthem and the respective provisions.
Article 7
The constitutional oath shall be as follows: "I swear by the Almighty God to respect the country's constitution, laws and Republican system, to look after the interests and freedoms of the people, to safeguard the homeland's sovereignty, independence, freedom and to defend its territorial integrity and to act in order to achieve social justice and the unity of the Arab Nation".
Article 8
1. The political system of the state shall be based on the principle of political pluralism, and exercising power democratically through the ballot box;
2. Licensed political parties and constituencies shall contribute to the national political life, and shall respect the principles of national sovereignty and democracy;
3. The law shall regulate the provisions and procedures related to the formation of political parties;
4. Carrying out any political activity or forming any political parties or groupings on the basis of religious, sectarian, tribal, regional, class-based, professional, or on discrimination based on gender, origin, race or color may not be undertaken;
5. Public office or public money may not be exploited for a political, electoral or party interest.
Article 9
As a national heritage that promotes national unity in the framework of territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic, the Constitution shall guarantee the protection of cultural diversity of the Syrian society with all its components and the multiplicity of its tributaries.
Article 10
Public organizations, professional unions and associations shall be bodies that group citizens in order to develop society and attain the interests of its members. The State shall guarantee the independence of these bodies and the right to exercise public control and participation in various sectors and councils defined in laws; in areas which achieve their objectives, and in accordance with the terms and conditions prescribed by law.
Article 11
The army and the armed forces shall be a national institution responsible for defending the security of the homeland and its territorial integrity. This institution shall be in the service of the people's interests and the protection of its objectives and national security.
Article 12
Democratically elected councils at the national or local level shall be institutions through which citizens exercise their role in sovereignty, state-building and leading society. 
Part 2: Economic Principles
Article 13
1. The national economy shall be based on the principle of developing public and private economic activity through economic and social plans aiming at increasing the national income, developing production, raising the individual's living standards and creating jobs;
2. Economic policy of the state shall aim at meeting the basic needs of individuals and society through the achievement of economic growth and social justice in order to reach comprehensive, balanced and sustainable development;
3. The State shall guarantee the protection of producers and consumers, foster trade and investment, prevent monopoly in various economic fields and work on developing human resources and protecting the labor force in a way that serves the national economy.
Article 14
Natural resources, facilities, institutions and public utilities shall be publicly owned, and the state shall invest and oversee their management for the benefit of all people, and the citizens' duty is to protect them.
Article 15
Collective and individual private ownership shall be protected in accordance with the following basis:
1. General confiscation of funds shall be prohibited;
2. Private ownership shall not be removed except in the public interest by a decree and against fair compensation according to the law;
3. Confiscation of private property shall not be imposed without a final court ruling;
4. Private property may be confiscated for necessities of war and disasters by a law and against fair compensation;
5. Compensation shall be equivalent to the real value of the property.
Article 16
The law shall determine the maximum level of agricultural ownership and agricultural investment to ensure the protection of the farmer and the agricultural laborer from exploitation and to ensure increased production.
Article 17
The right of inheritance shall be maintained in accordance with the law.
Article 18
1. Taxes, fees and overhead costs shall not be imposed except by a law;
2. The tax system shall be based on a fair basis; and taxes shall be progressive in a way that achieves the principles of equality and social justice.
Part 3: Social Principles
Article 19
Society in the Syrian Arab Republic shall be based on the basis of solidarity, symbiosis and respect for the principles of social justice, freedom, equality and maintenance of human dignity of every individual.
Article 20
1. The family shall be the nucleus of society and the law shall maintain its existence and strengthen its ties;
2. The state shall protect and encourage marriage, and shall work on removing material and social obstacles that hinder it. The state shall also protect maternity and childhood, take care of young children and youth and provide the suitable conditions for the development of their talents.
Article 21
Martyrdom for the sake of the homeland shall be a supreme value, and the State shall guarantee the families of the martyrs in accordance with the law.
Article 22
1. The state shall guarantee every citizen and his family in cases of emergency, sickness, disability, orphan-hood and old age;
2. The state shall protect the health of citizens and provide them with the means of prevention, treatment and medication.
Article 23
The state shall provide women with all opportunities enabling them to effectively and fully contribute to the political, economic, social and cultural life, and the state shall work on removing the restrictions that prevent their development and participation in building society.
Article 24
The state shall shoulder, in solidarity with the community, the burdens resulting from natural disasters.
Article 25
Education, health and social services shall be the basic pillars for building society, and the state shall work on achieving balanced development among all regions of the Syrian Arab Republic.
Article 26
1. Public service shall be a responsibility and an honor the purpose of which is to achieve public interest and to serve the people;
2. Citizens shall be equal in assuming the functions of public service, and the law shall determine the conditions of assuming such functions and the rights and duties assigned to them.
Article 27
Protection of the environment shall be the responsibility of the state and society and it shall be the duty of every citizen.
Part 4: Educational and Cultural Principles
Article 28
The educational system shall be based on creating a generation committed to its identity, heritage, belonging and national unity.
Article 29
1. Education shall be a right guaranteed by the state, and it is free at all levels. The law shall regulate the cases where education could not be free at universities and government institutes;
2. Education shall be compulsory until the end of basic education stage, and the state shall work on extending compulsory education to other stages;
3. The state shall oversee education and direct it in a way that achieves the link between it and the needs of society and the requirements of development;
4. The law shall regulate the state's supervision of private educational institutions.
Article 30
Physical education shall be an essential pillar in building society; and the state shall encourage it to prepare a generation which is physically, morally and intellectually fit.
Article 31
The state shall support scientific research and all its requirements, ensure the freedom of scientific, literary, artistic and cultural creativity and provide the necessary means for that end. The state shall provide any assistance for the progress of sciences and arts, and shall encourage scientific and technical inventions, creative skills and talents and protect their results.
Article 32
The state shall protect antiquities, archaeological and heritage sites and objects of artistic, historical and cultural value.
Chapter 2: Rights, freedoms and the rule of law
Part 1: Rights and Freedoms
Article 33
1. Freedom shall be a sacred right and the state shall guarantee the personal freedom of citizens and preserve their dignity and security;
2. Citizenship shall be a fundamental principle which involves rights and duties enjoyed by every citizen and exercised according to law;
3. Citizens shall be equal in rights and duties without discrimination among them on grounds of sex, origin, language, religion or creed;
4. The state shall guarantee the principle of equal opportunities among citizens.
Article 34
Every citizen shall have the right to participate in the political, economic, social and cultural life and the law shall regulate this.
Article 35
Every citizen shall be subjected to the duty of respecting the Constitution and laws.
Article 36
1. The inviolability of private life shall be protected by the law;
2. Houses shall not be entered or inspected except by an order of the competent judicial authority in the cases prescribed by law.
Article 37
Confidentiality of postal correspondence, telecommunications and radio and other communication shall be guaranteed in accordance with the law.
Article 38
1. No citizen may be deported from the country, or prevented from returning to it;
2. No citizen may be extradited to any foreign entity;
3. Every citizen shall have the right to move in or leave the territory of the state, unless prevented by a decision from the competent court or the public prosecution office or in accordance with the laws of public health and safety.
Article 39
Political refugees shall not be extradited because of their political beliefs or for their defense of freedom.
Article 40
1. Work shall be a right and a duty for every citizen, and the state shall endeavor to provide for all citizens, and the law shall organize work, its conditions and the workers' rights;
2. Each worker shall have a fair wage according to the quality and output of the work; this wage shall be no less than the minimum wage that ensures the requirements of living and changes in living conditions;
3. The state shall guarantee social and health security of workers.
Article 41
Payment of taxes, fees and public costs shall be a duty in accordance with the law.
Article 42
1. Freedom of belief shall be protected in accordance with the law;
2. Every citizen shall have the right to freely and openly express his views whether in writing or orally or by all other means of expression.
Article 43
The state shall guarantee freedom of the press, printing and publishing, the media and its independence in accordance with the law.
Article 44
Citizens shall have the right to assemble, peacefully demonstrate and to strike from work within the framework of the Constitution principles, and the law shall regulate the exercise of these rights.
Article 45
Freedom of forming associations and unions shall be based on a national basis, for lawful purposes and by peaceful means which are guaranteed in accordance with the terms and conditions prescribed by law.
Article 46
1. Compulsory military service shall be a sacred duty and is regulated by a law;
2. Defending the territorial integrity of the homeland and maintaining the secrets of state shall be a duty of every citizen.
Article 47
The state shall guarantee the protection of national unity, and the citizens' duty is to maintain it.
Article 48
The law shall regulate the Syrian Arab citizenship.
Article 49
Election and referendum are the right and duty of the citizens and the law shall regulate their exercise.
Part 2: Sovereignty of Law
Article 50
The rule of law shall be the basis of governance in the state.
Article 51
1. Punishment shall be personal; no crime and no punishment except by a law;
2. Every defendant shall be presumed innocent until convicted by a final court ruling in a fair trial;
3. The right to conduct litigation and remedies, review, and the defense before the judiciary shall be protected by the law, and the state shall guarantee legal aid to those who are incapable to do so, in accordance with the law;
4. Any provision of the law shall prohibit the immunity of any act or administrative decision from judicial review.
Article 52
Provisions of the laws shall only apply to the date of its commencement and shall not have a retroactive effect, and it may apply otherwise in matters other than criminal.
Article 53
1. No one may be investigated or arrested, except under an order or decision issued by the competent judicial authority, or if he was arrested in the case of being caught in the act, or with intent to bring him to the judicial authorities on charges of committing a felony or misdemeanor;
2. No one may be tortured or treated in a humiliating manner, and the law shall define the punishment for those who do so;
3. Any person who is arrested must be informed of the reasons for his arrest and his rights, and may not be incarcerated in front of the administrative authority except by an order of the competent judicial authority;
4. Every person sentenced by a final ruling, carried out his sentence and the ruling proved wrong shall have the right to ask the state for compensation for the damage he suffered.
Article 54
Any assault on individual freedom, on the inviolability of private life or any other rights and public freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution shall be considered a punishable crime by the law. 
Chapter 3: State Authorities
Part 1: The Legislative Authority
Article 55
The legislative authority of the state shall be assumed by the People's Assembly in accordance with the manner prescribed in the Constitution.
Article 56
The People's Assembly term shall be for four calendar years from the date of its first meeting and it may not be extended except in case of war by a law.
Article 57
Members of the People's Assembly shall be elected by the public, secret, direct and equal vote in accordance with the provisions of the Election Law.
Article 58
A member of the People's Assembly shall represent the whole people, and his/her commission may not be defined by a restriction or condition, and shall exercise duties under the guidance of his/her honor and conscience.
Article 59
Voters shall be the citizens who have completed eighteen years of age and met the conditions stipulated in the Election Law.
Article 60
1. The system of electing members of the People's Assembly, their number and the conditions to be met by the candidates shall be determined by a law;
2. Half of the members of the People's Assembly at least shall be of the workers and farmers, and the law shall state the definition of the worker and the farmer.
Article 61
The Election Law shall include the provisions that ensure:
1. The freedom of voters to choose their representatives and the safety and integrity of the electoral procedures;
2. The right of candidates to supervise the electoral process;
3. Punishing those who abuse the will of the voters;
4. Identifying the regulations of financing election campaigns;
5. Organizing the election campaign and the use of media outlets.
Article 62
1. Elections shall be held during the sixty days preceding the expiry date of the mandate of the People's Assembly term;
2. The People's Assembly shall continue its meetings if no other Assembly is elected and it shall remain in place until a new Assembly is elected.
Article 63
If the membership of a member of the People's Assembly is vacant for some reason, an alternative shall be elected within sixty days from the date of the membership vacancy, provided that the remaining term of the Assembly is no less than six months. The membership of the new member shall end by the expiry date of the mandate of the Assembly's term, and the Election Law shall determine the cases of vacant membership.
Article 64
1. The People's Assembly shall be called to convene by a decree issued by the President of the Republic within fifteen days from the expiry date of the mandate of the existing Assembly or from the date of announcing the election results in case of not having such an Assembly. The People's Assembly shall be definitely convened on the sixteenth day if the call-to-convene decree is not issued;
2. The Assembly shall elect, at its first meeting, its speaker and members who shall be annually re-elected.
Article 65
1. The Assembly shall call for three regular sessions per year; the total of which should not be less than six months, and the Assembly's rules of procedure shall set the time and duration of each of them;
2. The Assembly may be invited to extraordinary sessions upon the request of the Speaker, one third of the members of the Assembly or the Assembly's office;
3. The last legislative session of the year shall remain open until the approval of the state budget.
Article 66
1. The Supreme Constitutional Court shall have jurisdiction to consider appeals related to the elections of the members of the People's Assembly.
2. Appeals shall be submitted by the candidate within three days from the date of announcing the results; and the court shall decide its final judgments within seven days from the expiry date of submitting appeals.
Article 67
Members of the People's Assembly shall swear-in the constitutional oath mentioned in Article 7 of the Constitution.
Article 68
The emoluments and compensations of members of the People's Assembly shall be determined by a law.
Article 69
The People's Assembly shall put its rules of procedure to regulate the manner of working in it and the way of exercising its functions, and define terms of reference of the Assembly' office.
Article 70
Members of the People's Assembly shall not be questioned in a civil or criminal manner because of events or opinions they express or during a vote in public or private meetings and during the work of the committees.
Article 71
Members of the People's Assembly shall enjoy immunity for the mandate duration of the Assembly. Criminal proceedings against any member of them shall be taken after having a prior permission from the Assembly unless caught in the act. In non-session cases, permission shall be taken from the Assembly's office, and the Assembly shall be notified by any action taken at its first meeting.
Article 72
1. No member may take advantage of membership in any business;
2. The law shall specify the business which may not be combined with the membership in the Assembly.
Article 73
1. The speaker of the People's Assembly shall represent the Assembly, sign and speak on its behalf;
2. The People's Assembly shall have special guards under the authority of the Speaker of the Assembly; and no armed force may enter the Assembly without the permission of its Speaker.
Article 74
Members of the People's Assembly shall exercise the right of proposing laws and directing questions and inquiries to the cabinet or a minister in accordance with the rules of procedure of the Assembly.
Article 75
The People's Assembly undertakes the following functions:
1. Approval of laws;
2. Discussing the statement of the cabinet;
3. Perform a vote of no-confidence in the cabinet or a minister;
4. Approval of the general budget and final accounts;
5. Approval of development plans;
6. Approval of international treaties and conventions related to the safety of the state, including treaties of peace, alliance and all treaties related to the rights of sovereignty or conventions which grant privileges to foreign companies or institutions as well as treaties and conventions entailing additional expenses not included in its budget; or treaties and conventions related to loans' contract or that are contrary to the provisions of the laws in force and requires new legislation which should come into force;
7. Approval of a general amnesty;
8. Accepting or rejecting the resignation of one of the members of the Assembly.
Article 76
1. The Prime Minister shall present the cabinet's statement within thirty days from the date of its formation to the People's Assembly for discussion;
2. The cabinet shall be responsible for the implementation of its statement before the People's Assembly;
3. If the Assembly is not in a regular session, it shall be invited to convene an extraordinary session.
Article 77
1. A vote of no-confidence can only be conducted after the cabinet or one of its ministers is questioned in the Assembly; a vote of no-confidence should be upon a proposal made by at least a fifth of the members of the People's Assembly and it must be obtained with a majority of the members;
2. If a vote of no-confidence is obtained, the Prime Minister shall submit the cabinet's resignation to the President, so should the minister who got a vote of no-confidence.
Article 78
The Assembly might form temporary committees from among its members to collect information and find facts on the issues related to exercising its authorities.
Article 79
1. For every fiscal year there shall be one budget; and the beginning of fiscal year shall be determined by a law;
2. The law states the method of preparing the state's general budget;
3. The draft budget should be presented to the people's Assembly at least two months before the beginning of the fiscal year.
Article 80
1. The Assembly votes on the budget title by title; and the budget shall not enter into force unless approved by the Assembly;
2. If the Assembly did not complete the process of approving the budget until the beginning of the new fiscal year, the budget of the previous years is used until the new year budget is approved and the revenues are collected in accordance with the laws and regulations in force;
3. Appropriations cannot be transferred from one title to another except according to the provisions of the law;
4. The Assembly might not increase the estimates of total revenues or expenditures while examining the budget.
Article 81
The people's Assembly might, after approving the budget, approve laws which could create new expenditures and new revenues to cover them.
Article 82
The final accounts of the fiscal year shall be presented to the People's Assembly within a period not longer than one year as of the end of this year. The final account is done by a law; and the same procedures in approving the budget apply to the final account period. 
Part 2: The Executive Authority (1) The President of the Republic
Article 83
The President of the Republic and the Prime Minister exercise executive authority on behalf of the people within the limits provided for in the constitution.
Article 84
The candidate for the office of President of the Republic should:
1. Have completed forty years of age;
2. Be of Syrian nationality by birth, of parents who are of Syrian nationality by birth;
3. Enjoy civil and political rights and not convicted of a dishonorable felony, even if he was reinstated;
4. Not be married to a non-Syrian wife;
5. Be a resident of the Syrian Arab Republic for no less than 10 years continuously upon being nominated.
Article 85
The nomination of a candidate for the office of President of the Republic shall be as follows:
1. The Speaker of the People's Assembly calls for the election of the President of the Republic before the end of the term of office of the existing president by no less than 60 days and no more than 90 days;
2. The candidacy application shall be made to the Supreme Constitutional Court, and is entered in a special register, within 10 days of announcing the call for electing the president;
3. The candidacy application shall not be accepted unless the applicant has acquired the support of at least 35 members of the People's Assembly; and no member of the assembly might support more than one candidate;
4. Applications shall be examined by the Supreme Constitutional Court; and should be ruled on within 5 days of the deadline for application;
5. If the conditions required for candidacy were met by only one candidate during the period set for applying, the Speaker of the people's assembly should call for fresh nominations according to the same conditions.
Article 86
1. The President of the Republic shall be elected directly by the people;
2. The candidate who wins the election for the President of the Republic is the one who gets the absolute majority of those who take part in the elections. If no candidate receives that majority, a rerun is carried out between the two candidates who receive the largest number of votes;
3. The results shall be announced by the Speaker of the People's Assembly.
Article 87
1. If the People's Assembly was dissolved during the period set for electing a new President of the Republic, the existing President of the Republic continues to exercise his duties until after the new Assembly is elected and convened; and the new President of the Republic shall be elected within the 90 days which follow the date of convening this Assembly;
2. If the term of the President of the Republic finished and no new president was elected, the Existing President of the Republic continues to assume his duties until the new president is elected.
Article 88
The President of the Republic is elected for 7 years as of the end of the term of the existing President. The President can be elected for only one more successive term.
Article 89
1. The Supreme Constitutional Court has the jurisdiction to examine the challenges to the election of the President of the Republic;
2. The challenges shall be made by the candidate within 3 days of announcing the results; and the court rules on them finally within 7 days of the end of the deadline for making the challenges.
Article 90
The President of the Republic shall be sworn in before the People's Assembly before assuming his duties by repeating the constitutional oath mentioned in Article 7 of the Constitution.
Article 91
1. The President of the Republic might name one or more deputies and delegate to them some of his authorities;
2. The Vice-president is sworn in before the President of the Republic by repeating the constitutional oath mentioned in Article 7 of the Constitution.
Article 92
If an impediment prevented the President of the Republic from continuing to carry out his duties, the Vice-president shall deputize for him.
Article 93
1. If the office of the President of the Republic becomes vacant or if he is permanently incapacitated, the first Vice-president assumes the President's duties for a period of no more than 90 days of the President of the Republic's office becoming vacant. During this period new presidential elections shall be conducted;
2. If the office of the President of the Republic becomes vacant, and he does not have a Vice-president, his duties shall be assumed temporarily by the Prime Minister for a period of no more than 90 days of the date of the President of the Republic's office becoming vacant. During this period new presidential elections shall be conducted.
Article 94
If the President of the Republic resigned from office, he should address the resignation letter to the People's Assembly.
Article 95
The protocol, privileges and allocations required for the office of President of the Republic shall be set out in a law.
Article 96
The President of the Republic shall insure respect for the Constitution, the regular running of public authorities, protection of national unity and survival of the state.
Article 97
The President of the Republic shall name the Prime Minister, his deputies, ministers and their deputies, accept their resignation and dismiss them from office.
Article 98
In a meeting chaired by him, the President of the Republic lays down the general policy of the state and oversees its implementation.
Article 99
The President of the Republic might call the Council of Ministers to a meeting chaired by him; and might ask for reports from the Prime Minister and the ministers.
Article 100
The President of the Republic shall pass the laws approved by the People's Assembly. He might also reject them through a justified decision within one month of these laws being received by the Presidency. If they are approved a second time by the People's Assembly with a two thirds majority, they shall be passed by the President of the Republic.
Article 101
The President of the Republic shall pass decrees, decisions and orders in accordance with the laws.
Article 102
The President of the Republic declares war, calls for general mobilization and concludes peace agreements after obtaining the approval of the People's Assembly.
Article 103
The President of the Republic declares the state of emergency and repeals it in a decree taken at the Council of Ministers chaired by him with a two thirds majority, provided that the decree is presented to the People's Assembly in its first session. The law sets out the relevant provisions.
Article 104
The President of the Republic accredits heads of diplomatic missions in foreign countries and accepts the credentials of heads of foreign diplomatic missions in the Syrian Arab Republic.
Article 105
The President of the Republic is the Commander in Chief of the army and armed forces; and he issues all the decisions necessary to exercise this authority. He might delegate some of these authorities.
Article 106
The President of the Republic appoints civilian and military employees and ends their services in accordance with the law.
Article 107
The President of the Republic concludes international treaties and agreements and revokes them in accordance with provisions of the Constitution and rules of international law.
Article 108
The President of the Republic grants special amnesty and might reinstate individuals.
Article 109
The President of the Republic has the right to award medals and honors.
Article 110
The President of the Republic might address letters to the People's Assembly and make statements before it.
Article 111
1. The President of the Republic might decide to dissolve the People's Assembly in a justified decision he makes;
2. Elections for a new People's Assembly shall be conducted within 60 days of the date of dissolution;
3. The People's Assembly might not be dissolved more than once for the same reason.
Article 112
The President of the Republic might prepare draft laws and refer them to the People's Assembly to consider them for approval.
Article 113
1. The President of the Republic assumes the authority of legislation when the People's Assembly is not in session, or during sessions if absolute necessity requires this, or in the period during which the Assembly is dissolved.
2. These legislation shall be referred to the Assembly within 15 days of its first session;
3. The Assembly has the right to revoke such legislation or amend them in a law with a majority of two thirds of the members registered for attending the session, provided it is no less than the absolute majority of all its members. Such amendment or revocation shall not have a retroactive effect. If they are not amended or revoked, they shall be considered approved.
Article 114
If a grave danger and a situation threatening national unity, the safety and integrity of the territories of the homeland occurs, or prevents state institutions from shouldering their constitutional responsibilities, the President of the Republic might take the quick measures necessitated by these circumstances to face that danger.
Article 115
The President of the Republic might set up special bodies, councils and committees whose tasks and mandates are set out in the decisions taken to create them.
Article 116
The President of the Republic might call for a referendum on important issues which affect the higher interests of the country. The result of the referendum shall be binding and come into force as of the date of its announcement; and it shall be published by the President of the Republic.
Article 117
The President of the Republic is not responsible for the acts he does in carrying out his duties except in the case of high treason; and the accusation should be made through a People's Assembly decision taken by the Assembly in a public vote and with a two thirds majority in a secret session based on a proposal made by at least one third of the members. He shall be tried before the Supreme Constitutional Court.
Part 2: The Executive Authority (2) The Cabinet
Article 118
1. The Council of Ministers is the highest executive and administrative authority of the state. It consists of the Prime Minister, his deputies and the ministers. It supervises the implementation of the laws and regulations and oversees the work of state institutions;
2. The Prime Minister supervises the work of his deputies and the ministers.
Article 119
The allocations and benefits of the Prime Minister, his deputies and the ministers shall be set out in a law.
Article 120
The Prime Minister, his deputies and the ministers shall be sworn in before the President of the Republic when a new government is formed by repeating the constitutional oath mentioned in Article 7 of the Constitution before they start their work. When the government is reshuffled, only the new ministers shall be sworn in.
Article 121
The Prime Minister, his deputies and the ministers shall be responsible before the President of the Republic and the People's Assembly.
Article 122
The minister is the highest administrative authority in his ministry, and he shall implement the state's public policy in relation to his ministry.
Article 123
While in office, ministers shall be barred from being members of the boards of private companies or agents for such companies and from carrying out, directly or indirectly, any commercial activity or private profession.
Article 124
1. The Prime Minister, his deputies and the ministers shall be responsible for their acts, from a civil and penal perspective, in accordance with the law;
2. The President of the Republic has the right to refer the Prime Minister, his deputies and the ministers to the courts for any crimes any of them commits while in office or because of such crimes;
3. The accused shall be suspended from office as soon as an indictment is made until a ruling is passed on the accusation made against him. His resignation or dismissal does not prevent his trial. Procedures are conducted as stated in the law.
Article 125
1. The cabinet shall be considered as resigned in the following cases:
a. Upon the end of the term of office of the President of the Republic;
b. Upon the election of a new People's Assembly;
c. If the majority of the ministers resigned.
2. The cabinet carries on in a care taker capacity until a decree is passed naming a new cabinet.
Article 126
An individual can be a minister and a member of the People's Assembly at the same time.
Article 127
Provisions applying to ministers apply to deputy ministers.
Article 128
The mandate of the Council of Ministers is as follows:
1. It draws the executive plans of the state's general policy;
2. It guides the work of ministers and other public bodies;
3. It draws the state's draft budget;
4. It drafts laws;
5. It prepares development plans and plans for upgrading production and the exploitation of national resources and everything that could support and develop the economy and increase national income;
6. It concludes loan contracts and grants loans in accordance with provisions of the constitution;
7. Concludes treaties and agreements in accordance with provisions of the constitution;
8. Follows up on enforcing the laws and protects the interests and the security of the state and protects the freedoms and rights of the population;
9. Passes administrative decisions in accordance with the laws and regulations and oversees their implementation.
Article 129
The Prime Minister and the ministers exercise the authorities provided for in the laws in force in a manner that does not contravene the authorities given to other authorities in the Constitution, in addition to the other authorities stated in its provisions.
Part 2: The Executive Authority (3) Local Administration Councils 
Article 130
The Syrian Arab Republic consists of administrative units; and the law states their number, boundaries, authorities and the extent to which they enjoy the status of a legal entity, financial and administrative independence.
Article 131
1. The organization of local administration units is based on applying the principle of decentralization of authorities and responsibilities. The law states the relationship between these units and the central authority, their mandate, financial revenues and control over their work. It also states the way their heads are appointed or elected, their authorities and the authorities of heads of sectors.
2. Local administration units shall have councils elected in a general, secret, direct and equal manner.
Part 3: The Judicial Authority (1) The Courts and Attorney General's Office
Article 132
The judicial authority is independent; and the President of the Republic insures this independence assisted by the Supreme Judicial Council.
Article 133
1. The Supreme Judicial Council is headed by the President of the Republic; and the law states the way it shall be formed, its mandate and its rules of procedures;
2. The Supreme Judicial Council insures the provision of the guarantees necessary for the independence of the judiciary.
Article 134
1. Judges are independent and there is no authority over them except that of the law;
2. The judges' honor, conscience and impartiality constitute the guarantees for people's rights and freedoms.
Article 135
The law regulates the different branches, categories and degrees of the judicial system. It also states the rules for the mandates of different courts.
Article 136
The law states the conditions for appointing judges, promoting, transferring, disciplining and dismissing them.
Article 137
The Attorney General's Office is a single judicial institution headed by the Minister of Justice. The law regulates its function and mandate.
Article 138
1. Judicial rulings are made in the name of the Arab people of Syria;
2. Not implementing judicial rulings or obstructing their implementation is a crime punished in accordance with provisions of the law.
(2) Administrative Judiciary
Article 139
The State's Council is in charge of Administrative Judiciary. It is an independent judicial and advisory body. The law states its mandate and conditions for appointing, promoting, transferring, disciplining and dismissing them. 
Chapter 4: The Supreme Constitutional Court 
Article 140
The Supreme Constitutional Court is an independent judicial body based in Damascus.
Article 141
The Supreme Constitutional Court consists of at least seven members, one of them shall be named president in a decree passed by the President of the Republic.
Article 142
An individual cannot be a member of the Supreme Constitutional Court and a minister or a member of the People's Assembly at the same time. The law states the other jobs that cannot be done by a member of the Court.
Article 143
The duration of membership of the Supreme Constitutional Court shall be four years renewable. Article 144 Members of the Supreme Constitutional Court cannot be dismissed from its membership except in accordance with the law.
Article 145
President and members of the Supreme Constitutional Court shall be sworn in before the President of the Republic in the presence of the Speaker of the People's Assembly before they assume their duties. They repeat the following oath: "I swear by the Great Almighty to respect the Constitution and the laws of the country and to carry out my responsibilities with integrity and impartiality".
Article 146
The mandate of the Supreme Constitutional Court is as follows:
1. Control over the constitutionality of the laws, legislative decrees, bylaws and regulations;
2. Expressing opinion, upon the request of the President of the Republic, on the constitutionality of the draft laws and legislative decrees and the legality of draft decrees;
3. Supervising the election of the President of the Republic and organizing the relevant procedures;
4. Considering the challenges made to the soundness of the measures of electing the President of the Republic and members of the People's Assembly and ruling on these challenges;
5. Trying the President of the Republic in the case of high treason;
6. The law states its other authorities.
Article 147
1. The Supreme Constitutional Court is charged with control over the constitutionality of the laws as follows:
a. If the President of the Republic or a fifth of the members of the People's Assembly object to a law before it is passed, on the grounds of its unconstitutionality, it shall be suspended until the Court rules on it within 15 days of the date of lodging the objection at the Court. If the law is urgently needed, the Court shall rule on it within 7 days;
b. If a fifth of the members of the People's Assembly object to a legislative decree, on the grounds of its unconstitutionality within 15 days of it is being presented to the Assembly, the Court shall rule on it within 15 days of lodging the objection at the Court;
c. If the Court ruled that the law, the legislative decree or the bylaw was unconstitutional, the items found to be unconstitutional shall be annulled with retroactive effect and all their consequences shall be removed.
2. Considering the claim of the unconstitutionality of a law or a legislative decree and ruling on it takes place as follows:
a. If an opponent making a challenge claimed the unconstitutionality of a legal text applied by the court whose ruling is being challenged, and if the court considering the challenge found that the claim was serious and should be ruled on, it halts the proceedings of the case and refers it to the Supreme Constitutional Court;
b. The Supreme Constitutional Court shall rule on the claim within 30 days of being entered in its register.
Article 148
The Supreme Constitutional Court shall not consider the constitutionality of the laws put by the President of the Republic to a referendum and obtained the approval of the people.
Article 149
The law regulates the principles of considering and ruling on the issues under the mandate of the Supreme Constitutional Court. The law states the number of its staff and the conditions which need to be met by its members. It also states their immunity, responsibilities, salaries and privileges.
Chapter 5: Amending the Constitution
Article 150
1. The President of the Republic, and so does a third of the members of the People's Assembly, might propose amending the Constitution;
2. The proposal for amending the Constitution shall state the text proposed to be amended and the reasons for making the amendment;
3. As soon as the People's Assembly receives the proposal for amendment, it sets up a special committee to examine it.
4. The Assembly discusses the proposal for amendment. If it approved it with a three quarters majority, the amendment shall be considered final provided that it is also approved by the President of the Republic.
Chapter 6: General and Transitional Provisions.
Article 151
The Preamble of the Constitution is considered part and parcel of the Constitution
Article 152
No person carrying another nationality, in addition to the nationality of the Syrian Arab Republic, might occupy the office of President of the Republic, Vice-president, Prime Minister, deputy prime ministers, ministers, members of the People's Assembly or members of the Supreme Constitutional Court.
Article 153
This constitution shall not be amended before 18 months of coming into force.
Article 154
The legislation in force and passed before approving this Constitution remain in force until they are amended in accordance with its provisions, provided that the amendment is done within a period of no longer than 3 years.
Article 155
The term of office of the current President of the Republic terminates after 7 years of his being sworn in as President. He has the right to stand again for the office of President of the Republic. Provisions of Article 88 of this Constitution apply to him as of the next presidential elections.
Article 156
Elections for the first People's Assembly under this Constitution shall be held within 90 days of the date of its being approved through referendum.
Article 157
This Constitution shall be published in the official bulletin and enters into force as of being approved.

Damascus on / / 1433 corresponding to / / 2012
President of the Republic
Bashar Al Assad
His excellency, President of the Syrian Arab republic Bashar Al Assad, issued the Presidential decision No.33 dated 15/10/2011, decreeing the formation of a national committee to prepare a draft constitution for the Syrian Arab republic in preparation for its approval in accordance with the constitutional provisions. the committee shall accomplish its tasks within four months from the date of the issuance of the Presidential decision.
The committee held its meetings during the period set for its tasks, headed by lawyer Mr. Mazhar Al-Anbari, chief of the committee, and with the presence of the following members:
Abdul Karim Odai
Kamal Sharif
Moharram Tayara
Muhammad Adel Jamous
Momtaz Fawakhiri
Dr. Aziz Shukri
Dr. Abboud Al Sarraj
D. Fouad Deeb
Dr. Mishael Nakoul
Dr. Farouq Al-Basha
Ahmad Ido
Abdul Rahman Izkahi
Dr. Jasem Zakaria
Dr. Muhammad Kher Akkam
Dr. Kinda SHammat
Dr. Jamila Al-Sharbaji
Dr. Amal Yaziji
Ahmad Saleh Ibrahim
Omran Al Zoaby
Nabih Jalahej
Osmat Ghbari
Mahmoud Younes
Ahmad Al-Kuzbari (Head of the Committee)