Syria opposition says Iran plan a 'lifeline' for Assad
BEIRUT - Agence France-Presse
File photo shows Syrian rebel fighters holding up their guns. AFP Photo
Syria's main opposition group denounced today an Iranian peace initiative for the war-torn country as a last-ditch bid save the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.
"As the free forces of the Syrian people accomplish one decisive political and military victory after another, the regime and its allies keep on launching lacklustre and overdue political initiatives," said the National Coalition.
"The Iranian initiative represents one example of these desperate attempts to throw a lifeline to the inevitably sinking ship of the Assad regime," it said in a statement.
Tehran, the most powerful regional ally of the embattled Assad regime, detailed a six-point peace initiative on Sunday, according to Iranian media reports.
The plan did not envisage the fall of the regime, but instead called for "an immediate halt to violence and armed actions under the supervision of the United Nations".
It also called for sanctions against Syria to be lifted, the start of national dialogue, the establishment of a transitional government, and free elections.
The National Coalition said the initiative "claims to care about the lives, unity, and independence of the Syrian people".
But it added that "if the intent of the Iranian regime was sincere in this regard, it would be able to contribute to the Syrian people to achieve their ultimate demands and interests.
"The Iranian regime can do this by ending its support to the Assad regime politically, militarily, and economically, and by pressuring the regime to leave as soon as possibles," said the opposition bloc.
"The Iranian regime must seriously consider the future of relations between the Syrian and Iranian people, as the regime it supports is falling." The National Coalition, which was formed in Qatar last month, has been recognised by dozens of states as the sole and legitimate representative of the Syrian people.
The Syrian civil war began in March 2011 as a pro-reform protest movement inspired by the Arab Spring but transformed into an armed uprising after the Assad government began brutally crushing demonstrations.
More than 44,000 people have been killed so far, monitors say.