World backs Syrian opposition

Thursday 15 September 2011

ISTANBUL: Syrian opposition activists meeting in Istanbul announced on Thursday the members of Syrian National Council to provide an alternative to President Bashar Assad’s government as a brutal crackdown continued in their homeland.

Addressing a news conference at the end of four days of talks, Basma Kadmani, a Syrian exile living in France, said the council aimed to help topple Assad’s dictatorship within six months and form an interim government thereafter.

“The political vision of the council will give a push to the escalation of the revolutionary work we are seeing,” she said.

“This group, based on previous initiatives, and on what the street is demanding, is calling for the downfall of the regime with all of its limbs.” While condemning the Syrian government’s repressive response to pro-democracy protests, the international community has bemoaned the lack of a unified opposition that it could talk to.

By finalizing names of its members, drawn from Syria’s various political, religious and ethnic groups, the council hopes to fill that gap. “The next step will be international recognition, and the council will act in accordance with the wishes of the Syrian people,” Adip Shishakly, a member of a prominent Syrian political family, said at the end of the Istanbul meeting.

While not ruling out foreign military intervention in Syrian as more protesters call for international protection, Kadmani said the focus for now was on stepping up diplomatic and economic pressure on Assad.

Some 140 people were chosen as council members, of whom 40 percent were based outside Syria, but more could be appointed later.

A list of 72 members was circulated but the names of those inside Syria were mostly withheld to protect them from reprisals by Assad’s security forces.

UN leader Ban Ki-moon called Thursday for “coherent” new international action over the deadly crackdown.

“When he has not been keeping his promises, enough is enough and the international community should really take coherent measures and speak in one voice,” the UN secretary general told a press conference.

Members of the European Parliament called Thursday for the immediate departure of Assad who they said had lost all legitimacy.

In a resolution adopted in Strasbourg, Parliament called on Assad and his regime to “relinquish power immediately.” “The Syrian regime is calling its legitimacy into question by choosing a path of repression instead of fulfilling its own promises on broad reforms,” the resolution said.

Source: Arab News.
Link: http://www.arabnews.com/node/391153.

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