Ahead of Syria conference, anti-Assad figure says Cairo backs his ouster

Ahram Online , Wednesday 27 May 2015

Egypt has been active in organising talks between Syrian opposition figures and other opponents of Assad in an attempt to end the conflict in Syria

Feras El-Khaldy (Photo: Al-Ahram Arabic news website)

A Syrian anti-Assad figure said the agenda of the next opposition conference on the eighth and ninth of June in Cairo includes a propsed resolution - supported by Egypt - calling for the removal of President Bashar Al-Assad from power, according to Al-Ahram Arabic news website.

Feras El-Khaldy—a member of the Free Syrian Current (FSC) and also a member of the committee tasked with finalising preparations for the conference —urged the media outlets in Egypt to "raise the flag of Arab nationalism." He also called for the adoption of "strict and courageous steps with Saudi Arabia to maintain Arab national security."

El-Khaldy said Egypt is to be credited with pushing international, diplomatic steps on the Syrian crisis forward.

The Egyptian foreign ministry issued a statement on 23 May saying the conference will discuss how the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people for change can be achieved while protecting the unity of Syrian lands and the integrity of state institutions.

Egypt has been advocating for a political solution in a Syria ravaged by four years of a civil war that began after the regime launched a repressive campaign against pro-democracy protesters.

Egypt hosted a conference for the Syrian opposition conference in January.

El-Khaldy and other Syrian opposition activists — not associated with the anti-Assad Syrian National Coalition (SNC) — are endeavoring to contribute to the end of the conflict on the basis of diplomacy.

Unlike the SNC, which is backed by the Free Syrian Army (FSA), the FSC are not supported by any influential Syrian armed groups on the ground. 

El-Khaldy also criticised what he described as weak American support for the Syrian revolution.

"America supported the FSA with only Pepsi cans, pizza and emotional speeches. They just gave us illusion," he said.

He claims that the Islamic State (IS) militants are not Syrians and some of them came from Arab states such as Egypt, Tunisia and Libya.

Turkey played a role in allowing them to enter the Syrian territories, El-Khaldy added.

El-Khaldy said he hopes to arrange trials for regime members who stand with Iran, IS militants and the "opposition mercenaries."

He said he believed that the current crisis in Syria is the result of 45 years of authoritarianism.

"[The late Syrian president] Hafez Al-Assad cooperated with the Iranians, but he didn't sell the country to them as [his son] Bashar did. Bashar allowed Hezbollah and Iran to stab a dagger in the back of the Arab world. Both father and son did not deal with Baathists and other Syrians on an equal basis," El-Khaldy said.

"In the early days of the revolution, the Syrians called for some reforms such as launching probes of members of state security bodies. But the regime raped women, committed murder and arrested people in the ugliest ways. However, the world didn't help us."


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