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INTERNATIONAL > Syria opposition must beware of Islamist 'hijack': Clinton

ZAGREB - Agence France-Presse

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U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during a news conference with the Croatian president after their meetings at the presidency in Zagreb October 31, 2012. AFP Photo

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during a news conference with the Croatian president after their meetings at the presidency in Zagreb October 31, 2012. AFP Photo

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said yesterday that Washington wanted to help the Syrian opposition unite against President Bashar al-Assad's regime but urged it to resist efforts by "extremists" to hijack the revolution.
 
"There are disturbing reports of extremists going into Syria attempting to take over what has been a legitimate revolution against an oppressive regime for their own purposes," Clinton warned during a visit to Croatia.
 
The opposition should "strongly resist the efforts by the extremists to hijack the Syrian revolution".
 
Clinton's comments came as international Syria envoy Lakhdar Brahimi urged China to help end the escalating conflict that has killed more than 36,000 people since an uprising against Assad's rule erupted in March last year.
 
"We are working very hard with many different elements of opposition inside and outside Syria," Clinton told reporters.
 
She said Washington's efforts "are focused on pressuring the regime through increasing and tightening sanctions, meeting the humanitarian needs of the Syrian people who are displaced, assisting those countries that they seek refuge in, and helping the opposition unite behind a shared, effective strategy that can resist the regime's violence and begin to provide for a political transition." The opposition umbrella group the Syrian National Council (SNC) "can no be longer be viewed as the visible leader of the opposition," Clinton said.
 
"They can be part of the opposition, but the opposition must include people from inside Syria and others." Clinton also called for an opposition "leadership structure" to ensure that all Syrians are represented and protected, adding: "There has to be a representation of those who are on the front line fighting and dying today." "It is not a secret that many inside Syria are worried about what comes next. They have no love lost for the Assad regime, but they worry, rightly so, about the future. "And so there needs to be an opposition that can speak to every segment and every geographic part of Syria," Clinton said.
 
Earlier Wednesday, Syrian opposition groups, including representatives from the SNC and leaders of the Free Syrian Army, called for a transitional government in exile to be formed to win greater political support from the international community.
 
But in Paris, Russia warned that the "bloodbath" in Syria would continue if the West stuck to its demand for Assad's ouster.
 
"If the position of our partners remains the departure of this leader who they do not like, the bloodbath will continue," Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said after talks with his French counterpart Laurent Fabius.
 
Fabius also said France and Russia failed to bridge their differences over Assad's role in any future transition government at a meeting in Paris.

November/01/2012

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mara mcglothin

11/2/2012 3:13:08 PM

Good Lord what is the World coming to??? I think I agree with Liker on this. When you depose any dictator you always run the risk of creating a nasty vacuum that attracts all the evil elements in the World. So "Out of the Assad frying pan and into the fanatical extremist fire" So sad for Syria and it appears the rest of us as well.

ilker avni

11/2/2012 6:14:04 AM

Syrian civil war is turning into a blood bath,only because of Russia,Russia does not care about the Syrian people,Russia only cares about one person.Clinton is right,the oppostion should all unite,and all be represented as one voice,otherwise they play into Assad,s and Russia,s hand.The war is in the air,its taken that stage wheremany innocent lives are lost,many cities are turned to rubble.Syria will be another Lebanom.Russia has shown that it still bears the cold war Mentality..

Drege Keruso

11/1/2012 7:58:27 PM

This is a civil war. Your not going to get a resolution over night. There has been a lot killed, but not even close in comparison to all the lives lost in the United States civil war. These sorts of conflicts are very lengthy, lethal, and messy.

Blue Dotterel

11/1/2012 6:27:35 PM

So the Syrian National Council is now officially out of favor.This is the group that the FSA emerged from, and was given legitimacy by NATO and especially the Turkish government in meetings in Istanbul. It was supposed to represent the true aspirations of the Syrian people, or so we were told. Unfortunately, for the SNC, The war against Syria has lasted too long, so its credibility outside Syria has finally caught up with its lack of credibility in Syria. The next group will be just as bad.

Aryeh Rapaport

11/1/2012 5:16:50 PM

Syriano, How is it "Zionists war"? How are Zionists involved? Israel isnt funding Islamist extremists!! Turkey, SA, Qataris are - NOT ZIONISTS! If Zionists wanted to attack Syria -have no doubt about It Israel could eliminate Syrians without much difficulty. Israels NATIONAL STRATEGIC INTERESTS promote peace NOT WAR - Thats why Israel is NOT INVOLVED and doesnt ATTACK SYRIA! Recognize things for what they are. People are fighting for freedom against a killer of woman, children!!

Red Tail

11/1/2012 4:33:35 PM

Rimon. So you think that you personally are better informed about the situation among the rebells than the FM of US? Do you really do believe that you have better sources of intelligence than CIA? Her action, or rather lack of action since she did not go to war, clearly shows that despite pressure from Turkey and the Muslim world, she is perfectly aware that the rebells is a rather nasty crowd.

mara mcglothin

11/1/2012 3:23:41 PM

RIMON TREE This is typical of this woman. Just like she ignored all the girls visitng her husband in the Oval Office? This is the one reason I would never vote for her. She is such an opportunist of a person, and I do know her personally. I have seen this women say one thing on one side of a room and ten minutes later say the exact opposite on the other. Some things don't change. NIKOS The only reason she took this job was so NOBAMA would pay off her campaign debt.

Syriano Syrian

11/1/2012 2:59:35 PM

Welcome to last year Clinton. The Islamists hijack of the movement happened a long time ago and is the reason why the Syrians have not join the fight. They have send so many weapons, fighters, equipment, into Syria, but the Syrians wisely refuse to join the fight for they know this is the Zionists war. All this imported foreign mercenaries have no chance in the long run as Syrians want peace and Assad wants peace, and this is what bonds us together the most.

Rimon Tree

11/1/2012 12:57:07 PM

Mrs. Clinton, such "disturbing reports of extremists going into Syria attempting to take over what has been a legitimate revolution against an oppressive regime for their own purposes," have been known already much from beginning, but didn't just fit into neither your nor the esteemed PMS vision of being the "Friends of the Syrian people" How pathetic!), so you and your clueless Big Boss just ignored it.

Shah Hamdan

11/1/2012 12:44:10 PM

Nikos right on point. Its too late and too little.
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