Syria dissidents mull to accept newcomer
İpek Yezdani ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Bassam al-Imadi (R), the former Syrian ambassador to Sweden who leads Al-Leqaa, and Khaled Khoja, a high-ranking member of the SNC, attend a meeting bringing together dissidents from inside and outside Syria, in Istanbul. AA photoA new group claiming to represent the majority of the opposition movements inside Syria and calling itself “Al-Leqaa” has announced their unity with the Syrian National Council (SNC) and called on the international community to create a buffer zone in Syria.
Bassam al-Imadi, the former Syrian ambassador to Sweden who leads Al-Leqaa, has said their aim is to topple the regime and the SNC, which has brought together dissidents from inside and outside Syria, had recognized Al-Leeqa, or “The National Alliance of Forces, Coordinators, and Councils of the Syrian Revolution,” as one of its components.
“Bassam al-Imadi has been accepted to the council, but the acceptance of the National Alliance itself was going to be discussed during the general assembly of the council, which will be held in Tunisia this weekend,” Khaled Khoja, a high-ranking member of the SNC, told the Hürriyet Daily News yesterday.
Al-Leqaa held a press conference in order to announce the formation of “The National Alliance of Forces, Coordinators, and Councils of the Syrian Revolution” who have declared themselves as an alliance consisting of various groups of politicians and revolutionary groups in Syria.
“The regime has killed, maimed, arrested, tortured and displaced tens of thousands of people. Therefore different revolutionary groups sought to unify their operational and political leadership to join forces and overthrow the regime,” al-Imadi said.
“Now the time is ripe, it has become necessary to declare our existence publicly. Therefore, we announce the National Alliance of Forces, Coordinators and Councils of the Syrian Revolution, Al-Leeqa,” he said, reading a statement. He said Al-Leeqa included “the majority of revolutionary groups conducting the revolution in Syria.”
“We have managed to gather all these groups under the same umbrella,” al-Imadi said, adding that Al-Leeqa supported the Free Syrian Army, a grouping of army defectors that has taken up arms against the forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad “as long as it protects civilians and the peaceful revolution in Syria.”
‘International community passive’
At the moment the Free Syrian Army can only protect civilians, al-Imadi said, adding that “it has no capacity to do anything else.” Al-Imadi also complained about the policies of the international community toward the Syrian regime. “The international community hasn’t shown any will to do something for the Syrian people. I hope in the future they won’t regret their passiveness.”
The international community should create a “buffer zone” in Syria in order to protect the civilians and army defectors running away from the violence inside Syria, al-Imadi said. The United Nations said this week more than 5,000 people were estimated to have been killed in the Syrian government’s crackdown on dissent.
The announcement came as the uprising in Syria entered its 10th month yesterday, with increasing attacks by rebel soldiers on security forces held responsible for the regime’s heavy crackdown on civilian protesters.