Middle East

Syrian opposition groups say Assad must go

Dissidents meeting in Spain say they oppose negotiation with Syrian president unless it is aimed at his departure.

Last Modified: 21 May 2013 15:00
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
The opposition is under pressure by world powers to enter talks with Assad's government to end the conflict [AFP]

Syrian opposition groups meeting in Spain say they oppose all negotiation with President Bashar al-Assad's government unless it is aimed at his giving up of power.

About 80 opposition representatives from inside and outside Syria concluded a two-day meeting on Tuesday, saying Assad would neither form part of any transition government nor have any role in Syria's future.

Moaz al-Khatib, former chief of the Syrian National Coalition, said a decision on whether the opposition groups would take part in a conference in Geneva on Syria*s future, proposed by Russia and the US, would be taken within two weeks.

The groups oppose Assad representatives taking part in the meeting.

Al-Khatib resigned last week, citing the failure of the international community to stop the conflict as the reason.

Pressed back by army advances, Syria's opposition is under international pressure to enter into dialogue with Assad's government.

More than 80,000 people have been killed in the conflict, according to the UN, and 1.5 million people have fled the country since the uprising began in March, 2011.

'Common front'

Among the Madrid meeting's aims was "to facilitate dialogue between the various movements in the Syrian opposition, thereby aiding its cohesion and its future capacity to ensure unity, stability and democracy in Syria," the Spanish foreign ministry said in a statement.

"The international effort currently under way to this end requires the forming a strong, unified and diverse opposition capable of representing a common front."

Spain in November recognised the coalition as the Syrian people's legitimate representative, along with several Western and Arab powers.

Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo said last month that Madrid backed the formation of a national unity government in Syria as a way out of the two-year conflict.

Before resigning, Khatib had faced criticism of his perceived overly moderate position towards the Assad government.

He was pressured to step down after leading members of the coalition berated him for offering Assad a deal, and after the
bloc went ahead with steps to form a provisional government against Khatib's explicit wishes.


Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
Featured on Al Jazeera
Muslim volunteers face questioning and threat of arrest, while aid has been disrupted or blocked, charities say.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
ISIL combatants seeking an 'exit strategy' from Mideast conflict need positive reinforcement back home, analysts say.
European nation hit by a wave of Islamophobia as many young fighters join ISIL in Syria and Iraq.
Lacking cohesive local ground forces to attack in tandem, coalition air strikes will have limited effect, experts say.
Hindu right-wing groups run campaign against what they say is Muslim conspiracy to convert Hindu girls into Islam.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
Muslim caretakers maintain three synagogues in eastern Indian city, which was once home to a thriving Jewish community.
Amid fresh ISIL gains, officials in Anbar province have urged the Iraqi government to request foreign ground troops.