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Syrian opposition drafting declaration

More than 300 Syrian activists living abroad issue a joint declaration to support the revolt against President Bashar al-Assad's regime

AFP , Thursday 2 Jun 2011
Views: 1203
Views: 1203

Syrian opposition groups meeting in Turkey were drafting a joint declaration Thursday on how to support the revolt against President Bashar al-Assad's regime, organisers said.

The declaration was expected to be issued Thursday evening or Friday morning at the Mediterranean resort of Antalya, where the dissidents have been meeting since Wednesday.

Some 300 Syrian activists, mostly exiles, representing a broad spectrum of political forces opposed to Assad's regime, are attending the talks, the largest gathering of the opposition so far.

Organisers have said their purpose is to draw up a "roadmap" for a peaceful and democratic transition in Syria.

They have set up several committees to coordinate anti-regime action, notably to explore ways of supporting protesters in Syria, both in financial and logistic terms, in areas such as legal assistance and strengthening Internet media backing the revolt.

The participants, among them members of the banned Muslim Brotherhood, have snubbed a general amnesty for political prisoners, decreed by Assad Tuesday, as a belated and inadequate move.

About 50 regime supporters demonstrated near the conference venue Thursday, brandishing posters of the Syrian president and chanting in English "We love Bashar."

"These are people on the payroll of the United States and Israel, they have no right to represent the Syrian people," one of the demonstrators, Nidal Said, said of the opposition activists.

Turkish riot police, deployed in numbers in the area, kept the demonstrators away from the hotel where the conference was held.

More than 1,100 civilians have been killed and at least 10,000 arrested in a brutal crackdown on almost daily anti-regime demonstrations in Syria since March 15, rights organisations say.

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