Syria general Tlas says seeks to unite opposition
Reuters, Thursday 26 Jul 2012
Syrian defector Brigadier General Manaf Tlas says he did not leave Syria to lead transition, to form an opposition group of inside and outside Syrians


Brigadier General Manaf Tlas, one of the most senior defectors from President Bashar al-Assad's rule, said he would help unite Syria's fragmented opposition inside and outside the country to agree a roadmap for a transfer of power.

Tlas, speaking in a newspaper interview in the Saudi city of Jeddah, also said he was looking for support from Saudi Arabia and other powers.

"I am discussing with...people outside Syria to reach a consensus with those inside," Tlas told the Saudi newspaper Asharq al-Awsat. "I left (Syria)...to try to help the best I can to unite the honourable people inside and outside Syria to set out a road map to get Syria out of this crisis".

Tlas, a former friend of Assad's who could play a role in any transition of power, said he "did not leave Syria to lead the transitional period".

"I realise this is a difficult phase... It's difficult for one person to bear the responsibility of such a phase," he said.

"A group (including opposition) from inside and outside Syria should cooperate to accomplish this phase."

The general, a Sunni Muslim member of Assad's mostly Alawite inner circle and a senior officer in the Republican Guards, defected earlier this month.

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