Opposition makes last call to President Assad
‘The issue is now in the regime’s camp,’ says the opposition leader. AP photoThe head of Syria’s opposition coalition, Moaz al-Khatib, said today he had received “no clear response” from the regime of President Bashar al-Assad over his offer of dialogue but made a ‘last call’ to the president.
Al-Khatib said in late January he was prepared to hold direct talks with regime representatives who did not have “blood on their hands,” and so long as the discussions addressed replacing al-Assad.
“The issue is now in the regime’s camp. It has given no clear response yet that it accepts that (Assad) will leave. There has been no official contact until now,” al-Khatib told reporters in Cairo after talks with Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi.
“I am sending a last message to the regime, so that it tries to understand the suffering of the Syrian people, because the revolution will continue and will never stop,” he added.
“We call on the regime... to leave in order to avoid more bloodshed and destruction. We don’t want war, but we have nothing against continuing until we die so that Syria can be free of this regime,” he said.
The al-Assad regime had said it was open to talks but with no pre-conditions. In a statement posted on his Facebook page on Feb. 10, al-Khatib proposed that the dialogue take place in “liberated areas,” in rebel-controlled northern Syria.
Al-Khatib’s initial offer was met with support from the U.S. and the Arab League and also from Russia and Iran, with whom the opposition leader recently held talks. But the key member of the opposition coalition, the Syrian National Council is opposed to talks with the regime until al-Assad steps down.