Syria dissidents divided on future constitution

Syria dissidents divided on future constitution

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Syria dissidents divided on future constitution

Bashar al-Assad (C) addressing soldiers during his visit to the Baba Amr neighborhood in the city of Homs on March 27. Assad toured the former rebel stronghold, assuring locals that the neighbourhood would be rebuilt and that normal life would resume.

Syrian dissidents revealed the main principles of a future Syrian constitution at a meeting where all the opposition groups gathered on March 28 ahead of an international “Friends of Syria” meeting in Istanbul.

“The new Syria will be a democratic republic, based on constitutional life and sovereignty of law which [serves equally] the citizens regardless of their religious, national or intellectual backgrounds,” said the draft statement revealing the principles of the future constitution, while some opposition groups criticized the statement harshly for the lack of any measures to be taken to stop the bloodshed in Syria.

Syrian dissidents from all ethnic and religious backgrounds and from all over the world came together in Istanbul on March 28 with the aim of creating a common vision regarding the future of Syria ahead of an international “Friends of Syria” meeting that will be held in Istanbul on April 1.
Around 200 Syrian dissidents from different opposition groups including the National Change Current, Liberation and Construction Bloc, Kurdish groups, Turkmen Movement, and Syriacs attended the meeting led by the most prominent opposition group, the Syrian National Council, and organized by the Turkish and Qatari foreign ministries in an effort to unite the Syrian opposition. The meeting was closed to the media.

The draft statement named the new authority that will be made by the Syrian dissidents the “Transitional Authority in Syria,” adding “the Transitional Authority in Syria is committed to holding multi-democrat free elections aiming to establish a parliament devoted to creating a new constitution.” The draft statement, called “The Future of the Syrian National Prospective Constitution,” said, “The Syrian people seemed to be determined to remove the regime and developed their struggle to build up a sovereign future state.”

‘How will the bloodshed end?’

However not all the Syrian dissidents were satisfied with the draft statement. “This statement has no paragraph regarding the current situation in Syria. How will this bloodshed end? There should have been solid recommendations for the solution to the current crisis. However there are only mentions regarding the future constitution. First you have to stop the massacres there,” Tariq al-Said, chairman for foreign affairs of the Liberation and Construction Bloc, told the Hürriyet Daily News.

Spokesperson of the Syrian Revolution Coordination Union, Saer al-Haji, said they were not satisfied with the statement at all. “Nobody thinks about the people that are being killed now. They talk about the future of Syria after al-Assad is gone. However al-Assad is still there now and nobody speaks about bringing in NATO and stopping the bloodshed in Syria,” al-Haji told the Daily News. Al-Haji also said Turkey and Qatar, the countries who invited the Syrian dissidents for the meeting were supporting the Syrian National Council behind the scenes.

Leader of the National Change Current, Dr. Ammar Qurabi said they would be submitting their own statement during the meeting because they thought the draft statement did not involve any solutions for the current crisis in Syria.

The final statement of the Syrian dissidents’ meeting is to be submitted to the international “Friends of Syria” conference set to be held in Istanbul on April 1.