Established by Fathi Ibrahim Bayoud 2005 - Homs

Conflict of interests hinders efforts to renew passports by opposition

Tsunami | 2014-12-12 00:00:00
Conflict of interests hinders efforts to renew passports by opposition

By Fathi Ibrahim Bayoud; Translation by yusra Ahmed

(Zaman Al Wasl)- I wish Syrians’ little dream to renew their passports was not that complicated and victim of opposition’s conflict of interest.

However, the scary thing happened, and dream of renewing expired passports is being used as a tool between two sides of the opposition, who were not able to break the severe siege of Eastern Ghouta and Homs.

And now they might destroy the hope of Syrians who stuck abroad in foreign countries because they do not have valid passports.

In this article, I am going to present facts Zaman al-Wasl is aware of, about the passports' subject and it is a testimony for history and Syrians.

What is happening now?

In summary, a strong team within the National Coalition managed to obtain a big amount of passports’ renewal stickers similar to that used by the Syrian regime and from the same source. Those stickers can extend passports for up to 6 years.

Those procedures were led by the opposition figure Nazir al-Hakim, under coverage of a country and turning the blind eye by another.

Since the stickers had arrived to turkey, the problem of renewing passports became a step away from being real, according to confirmed information.

On the other hand, the National Coalition’s Embassy in Doha has been trying for more than a year to sort out the problem of Syrian passports. It obtained machines to discover forged passports with almost finalized process for renewing passports according to international criteria with stickers assigned to the opposition and different from the regime’s ones.

All that happened by effort of the National Coalition’s Ambassador on Doha, Nizar al-Hiraki.

In fact, the two channels did not coordinate with each other, therefore, there would be two kinds of renewing stickers issued by one body, “the National Coalition” which the Embassy in Doha is part of.

The Ambassador Nizar al-Hiraki contacted me after publishing the scoop about renewing expired passports, he confirmed that information were accurate according to trusted sources. The

Ambassador expressed his surprise for not being told about the Coalition’s channel, despite he had contacted the Coalition in regard to the matter and what was done in the Coalition’s Embassy in Qatar, since Moaz al-Khatib’s was the Head of the National Coalition, then Ahmed Jarba and Hadi al-Bahra, and he showed them the cost and the significant efforts the Ministry of Foreign Affair in Qatar gave to achieve the goal.

Where are we now?

The process of renewing Syrian passport process has reached to the following point: Nazir al-Hakim has paid big amount of money to obtain stickers similar to Syrian regime’s ones, in the same time, the National Coalition Embassy in Doha spent great amount of money with support of Qatar to obtain passports' renewing machines.

The Interim Prime Minister, Ahmed Tomeh, is confused and "lost" between the two teams, but promised to find a solution, he tend to accredit the renewal process in the Coalition’s Embassy in Doha, but

he do not have enough power to implement that.

From his side, Hadi al-Bahra, the president of the National Coalition, has not decided yet what to do, despite renewing passports is going to start in the beginning of next year.

After the press release about renewing passports, both teams started to issue statements to exclude the other, which is consider signs for conflict if the matter was not sorted out quickly.

Zaman al-Wasl aimed from publishing the news about renewing passports to pressurize the opposition to act quickly and sort the expired passports’ issue without any side conflicts, even if the start was by renewing passports.

I confirm that I have not received any evidence about any bad intention of both teams or any financial incentives.

The opposition in required to respect Syrians’ sacrifices and to avoid any side conflict. The president of the national Coalition hadi al-Bahra and all who were mentioned in the report, are required to be up to their responsibilities.

I have asked a well informed member of the National Coalition about the matter and the possibility of renewing passports in the National Coalition’s Embassy in Qatar, he literally said: “Stickers are ready and hundreds of thousands are available in the Coalition’s Headquarter, they were printed in Europe and the cost would be $75, passports have been printed out but did not arrive yet. Ambassador Nizar al-Hiraki is out of the process and he did not know about the latest development because the matter is the responsibility of the National Coalition and the Government”

Zaman Al Wasl
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