Power transition in Syria acceptable, Davutoğlu says
DAMASCUS / AMASYA
A UN observer (R) talks to a masked man during a visit at el-Qubeir village. EPA photoAny transition of power in Syria that would make Syrians feel safe would be acceptable, the Turkish foreign minister said, while fierce clashes continued to claim lives in the country.
Any power transition that would cause the Syrian people to feel safe and at peace would be an acceptable step, Ahmet Davutoğlu said, speaking at a meeting in the northern province of Amasya yesterday. Davutoğlu’s remarks came after the new leader of Syria’s exiled opposition, Abdulbaset Sieda, called on embattled President Bashar al-Assad to transfer power to his deputy Faruq al-Shara.
The Turkish foreign minister said al-Assad had lost his credibility in the country. “Starting a transition process, including such a power transition, could of course launch a positive process there,” he said. Davutoğlu said all the models, including the Yemen model, could be discussed for a transition in Syria, referring to Sieda’s recent remarks.
In the meantime, residents of pro-Syrian regime village as-Sheer yesterday prevented United Nations observers from reaching the town of Haffah, where there are fears of a new massacre, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
It said government forces were shelling Haffah in the northwestern province of Latakia and nearby villages with dozens of people reportedly wounded — some of them critically.
Syrian forces barraged in Deir el-Zour, an eastern city, with mortar shells as anti-government protesters were dispersing before dawn yesterday, killing at least 10 people, activists said.
Activist groups also reported clashes in areas including the central province of Homs, the northern regions of Idlib and Aleppo and areas around the capital, Damascus, and the southern province of Daraa.
As Syria has intensified its onslaught against the opposition, U.N. envoy Kofi Annan has asked governments with influence to “twist arms” to stop escalating violence in Syria. The U.N. Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) said it had received reports of “a large number of civilians, including women and children trapped inside the town and [was] trying to mediate their evacuation.” U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon joined U.N.-Arab League peace envoy Kofi Annan in demanding that unarmed military observers from UNSMIS be allowed into Haffah.
Compiled from AA, AFP and AP stories by the Daily News staff.