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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Syrian opposition agrees to Assad overthrow, backs Free Syrian Army

Syrian opposition groups meeting in Cairo agreed on Tuesday that the government of President Bashar al-Assad be overthrown, reaching a consensus on the formation of a national unity government and supporting the Free Syrian Army, Egypt’s state run news agency MENA reported.

“Solving the Syrian problem starts with the departure of Assad’s regime and we in the opposition agreeing among ourselves on an adequate leadership with qualified people, whether from outside the official regime, or those who may have taken part in the official government,” Egypt’s state run news agency MENA cited Abdulbaset Seyda, the head of the Syrian National Council, as saying.


Meanwhile, Secretary General of the Movement of Free Syrian People, Khalid Nasir, said that the Syrian opposition groups agreed on supporting the Free Syrian Army, the most prominent armed opposition group.

In a final declaration, the participants of the conference described the mechanisms for a post-Assad transitional process, Seyda noted.

“Talking about any national unity government while Bashar al-Assad is still there is meaningless,” he said, adding that the SNC will not sign anything that does not clearly include support for the Free Syrian Army.

A document that will be issued by the opposition conference will provide “a roadmap to determine the rules and the mechanisms through which we will get through the difficult transition period,” MENA cited him as saying.

Earlier on Tuesday, a Syrian Kurdish group quit the meeting, according to a Reuters news report.

Their decision to withdraw from the meeting sparked mayhem and cries of “scandal, scandal” from some delegates.

“The Kurds withdrew because the conference rejected an item that says the Kurdish people must be recognized,” Abdel Aziz Othman of the National Kurdish Council told Reuters. “This is unfair and we will no longer accept to be marginalized.”

Sixteen months into an uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the failure to rally Syria’s disparate religious and ethnic groups behind a united leadership will make it more difficult to secure international recognition.
Assad has clung on far longer than other Arab leaders who faced popular uprisings, in part due to his willingness to use overwhelming force but also because of divisions among his population, the opposition and the international community.

A diplomat from the meeting’s host, the Arab League, said the often “chaotic” opposition had made progress by agreeing on documents outlining principles to shape a new constitution and guide any transition.

Earlier the Syrian Revolution General Commission (SRGC) pulled out of the conference, citing political disputes,” according to a statement.

The SRGC said it refuses to “engage in political disputes, which play with the fate of our people and our revolution” or accept “agendas that place the revolution between the anvil and the hammer of international conflicts and the criminal Syrian regime.”

The group also criticized world powers, who agreed on Saturday in Geneva on a transitional plan for Syria, in compromise with Russia and China, key allies of the Damascus regime.

“Talking about unifying the opposition is hollow speech aimed at covering up for the failure of the Geneva meeting,” the SRGC said, also accusing the regime of committing more massacres in the country.

“The priority now is to continue to strengthen unity among the Syrian revolutionary forces, mainly the Free Syrian Army inside the country, and to secure support for this (military) option by all means,” it added.

“This alone assures blessed victory for the revolution and can change the domestic and international equation,” it said.

The SRGC was formed in August 2011 – five months after the start of the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad’s rule – by some 44 opposition groups committed to focus on toppling the regime.
Agencies

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