Information Minister "Omran al-Zoubi" said that in the eyes of the Syrian state, all Syrians are equal wherever they are, stressing that talking about Homs is a humanitarian issue which shouldn't be exploited politically for used for achieving gains or political victories.
Al-Zoubi told reporters today that "no-one wants to achieve a political victory using this issue… we won't allow others to imagine that they're achieving this, and this issue is outside political calculations, investments and discussions, and we will continue to say this".
He said "there are civilians in the old city in Homs which they are talking about, regardless of the disparate estimations of their numbers. Those could leave the area, and the state will provide them with all services all the time", noting that "it's not the first or the last time that the state provides humanitarian support in compliance with the response plan between the Syrian government and UN organizations".
He clarified that the response plan isn't a recent thing that is implemented or begins today; rather it began a long time ago and is being implemented literally and systematically all over the country, pointing out that there are areas in need for humanitarian support including Homs, Maaloula, Nebbel, al-Zahraa, and Adra, among other areas across Syria, adding "all areas in Syria are, in the end, part of our country and people, regardless of any consideration."
The Minister stressed that nobody should think that what is going on in Homs is associated to what has been discussed in Geneva Conference.
He noted that a month ago, 800 Syrian citizens were evacuated from al-Zara area where gunmen had been holding them hostage, with the state providing them with shelter, food and medical services, adding that there are people besieged in Maaloula and Adra, in addition to Nebbel and al-Zahraa which have been blockaded for two years.
Al-Zoubi pointed out that the Syrian government is providing aid to areas via dignitaries, selectmen and civil committees, stressing that work for providing aid to the old city in Homs is underway with the help of the International Committee of the Red Cross, reiterating that this process is independent form discussions in Geneva.
"All that some are trying to market through mass media that an achievement was made by the coalition members regarding this issue is baseless, because preparations were made in advance and work was underway", he added.
The Minister said that there are efforts being exerted in Damascus with the UN through the Syrian government to address all blockaded areas and help or evacuate civilians, adding "all talk outside this context is morally, humanely and patriotically reprehensible… Not a single patriotic Syrian, regardless of the opposition group they belong to, has the right to talk about those people as number and try to make political investments from their suffering."
On the coalition delegation's claims that they have lists of children detained in Syrian prisons, al-Zoubi said that these claims were made on Sunday evening during the session, yet they failed to present any lists or names, and if they can't provide them in closed session, then they will certainly say that they can't present them to the media because these claims are baseless, stressing that the state does not arrest children nor women, unless the woman in question transported weapons or was complicit in killing.
He said "we don't arrest children, even the children which armed groups recruit for their battles… when the authorities apprehend them, they are treated as children, not as combatants or arrestees or detainees; rather we take their age into consideration as well as the moral and psychological influences they were subjected to", asserting that there are specific state establishments which deal with such issues and lies regarding this matter must cease immediately.
On prospects of beginning discussion of the political process today, the Minister said that the meeting is underway and the details will be discussed later, stressing that the Syrian official delegation in Geneva will continue to act according to its patriotism, its faith in Syria, and according to the directives of President Bashar al-Assad which affirm the need to stem bloodshed, defending national and pan-Arab standards, and preserving Syria's Arabism, sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Al-Zoubi noted that there are many lies and allegations by mass media outlets which falsify what the Syrian official delegation says, yet the delegation members remain optimist, serious and determined.
On alleged side meetings between the Syrian official delegation, the coalition delegation and western delegations, the Minister said that talking about such things to the media isn't possible, but the goal of being at the conference is to meet with the coalition delegation according to set procedures and rules and to work towards progress in any direction.