No place for extremists in Syria’s future: Opposition

No place for extremists in Syria’s future: Opposition

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
No place for extremists in Syria’s future: Opposition

A FSA rebel stands on a chair to aim his weapon through a hole as others take up positions in a room in Aleppo. REUTERS photo

There is no room for extremists in Syria’s future, according to one of the leading figures of the Syrian opposition, who referred to al-Qaeda-linked group al-Nusra’s activities in Syria’s northern parts.

George Sabra spoke in Syrian National Coalition’s (SNC) Istanbul meeting yesterday where the rebels declared the “Syria Transition Road map,” with a group of 300 Syrian human rights activists, academics, judges, lawyers, opposition leaders and defected government and military officers.

“There has to be no extremism in Syria. We think that the Syrians will solve this extremism problem socially since these people are also our people, but we do not think that it’s a threatening issue, the media is exaggerating it,” Sabra told the Hürriyet Daily News. The al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra is one of the most effective armed opposition forces in Syria against President Bashar al-Assad. Al-Nusra has been engaged in a violent fight with the Kurdish People’s Defense Units (YPG), PYD’s armed wing, since mid-July, gaining control of the Syrian town of Ras al-Ayn, across from the Turkish town of Ceylanpınar prompting a reaction from Turkey as well.

Sabra put the blame for “extremists’ existence” in Syria’s northern parts on the “Bashar al-Assad regime,” since “he was the one caused the bloodshed in Syria.” He also expostulates on the international community for “lacking support for the Syrian people.” Sabra called for Western countries to provide weaponry to the Free Syrian Army and humanitarian aid to the Syrian people.

Post-al-Assad roadmap

The detailed roadmap covered the topics of constitutional reform, political reform, electoral reform, security sector reform, economic reform and transitional justice in post-conflict Syria.

According to the report, the future Syrian government will be a hybrid presidential/parliamentary system to ensure the presence of checks and balances in state institutions. The starting point of the new Syrian Constitution will be the Constitution of 1950, it said. And the new Constitution will be amended and modified by a 290-member Constitutional Assembly, elected in a national election. The new Syrian Constitution will be approved by a national referendum.

The independence of the judiciary will be guaranteed by completely separating it from the executive branch. The security services will be restructured and cleansed of corrupt officials, the report said. “All armed groups will be disarmed, demobilized and reintegrated into Syrian society.” The report also said Syria will gradually abandon its state-led economic model in favor of a market-based economy. Public sector employees will continue to be paid while preparing for the overhaul of the state administrative structure.

FM rejects Turkey’s ties with al-Nusra


“Groundless” reports in international media suggesting that Turkey has ties with jihadist groups fighting Syria’s government should not be given credence, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has said. Davutoğlu made the comments in a written response to an official question by Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) Şırnak deputy Hasip Kaplan, who inquired about the nature of the Turkish government’s relationship with the jihadist al-Nusra, an al-Qaeda-linked group operating in northern Syria. Kaplan submitted his question in January in order to be answered by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

“Groundless reports that have been published in international media concerning our Syria policy should not be accredited. Necessary explanations on this issue were made at the time,” Davutoğlu said in his response, on behalf of Erdoğan, which was made public by the BDP headquarters yesterday. “Turkey’s Syria policy is based on a peaceful basis in line with the principle of supporting the Syrian people’s legitimate demands,” Davutoğlu said, concluding his brief response to the lengthy question by Kaplan. The official question by Kaplan was composed of six sub-questions.