No room for runaway Tlass, say Syria rebels

No room for runaway Tlass, say Syria rebels

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
No room for runaway Tlass, say Syria rebels

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu (R) shakes hands with defected Syrian General Manaf Tlass before a Ramadan fast-breaking dinner in Ankara. AP Photo

Syrian opposition group, the Syrian National Council (SNC), does not want Syrian defector Brig. Gen. Manaf Tlass to play a leadership role in a post-al-Assad government since he and his family were in al-Assad’s inner circle, two prominent SNC members have said.

“The Tlass family was one of the main pillars of the regime inside Syria, and revolutionary forces inside Syria do not support the idea of the Tlass family replacing the al-Assad family. And we cannot support anything that is not supported by the street forces inside Syria,” the Turkey representative of the SNC, Khaled Khoja, told the Hürriyet Daily News yesterday. Tlass had been quoted as saying he would try to help bring Syria’s fragmented opposition inside and outside the country together to agree on a roadmap for a transfer of power. However two members of the SNC, Khaled Khoja and Mahmoud Osman, have said neither the street movement inside Syria, nor the SNC feel positive about Tlass’ possible leadership in the post-al-Assad period in Syria.

“The Tlass family was the sidekick of the al-Assad family. Manaf Tlass’ father gave significant support to the regime in Syria. So it is inappropriate for someone who just broke his links with the regime to play a role in the future leadership of Syria,” Khoja said. Osman said someone like Tlass, who used to be so close with the current regime, should not be a political actor in the transition period in Syria.

‘Baath members OK for us’

“When someone defects from the regime, he thinks he justifies himself in the eyes of others. The Syrian people are very much concerned about these kinds of developments; they fear another version of the al-Assad regime will be replace it,” Osman said. Both Khoja and Osman said, however, they were open to members of the Baath Party who hadn’t committed murder and whose hands were clean playing a role in the transition. “We [the SNC] have released a temporary road map at our meeting in Cairo and in this road map, we have already mentioned that former Baath Party members whose hands are clean and who didn’t commit murder can have a role in the future of Syria,” Khoja said.
Osman also said the international community had not kept their promises of financial aid for the SNC. “Starting with Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the Gulf countries have promised to pay $30 million in financial aid per month to the SNC. However as of today, we have only received $15 million in total,” Osman said.

Osman also said during the “Friends of Syria” meetings held in Istanbul and Paris, the U.S., the EU, Japan and many other countries had also made big promises of financial aid. “However we have received nothing from them.”

“They prevented the SNC from being the only legal and legitimate representative of the Syrian people. The situation in Syria could have been different if the promises made had been kept,” Osman said.