FSA praises Morsi's 'historic' statements on Syrian regime

Ahram Online , Sunday 16 Jun 2013

The Free Syrian Army hails Egypt president's decision to cut diplomatic ties with Syrian regime; Syrian officials accuse Morsi of 'conspiring against Syria'

Supporters waved Syrian revolution flag as Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi addresses a rally called for by hardline Islamists loyal to the Egyptian president to show solidarity with the people of Syria, in a stadium in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, June 15, 2013 (Photo: AP)

The Free Syrian Army (FSA) has voiced its approval following President Morsi's statements on Saturday regarding the Syrian regime, Egypt's state-run news agency reported on Sunday.

"President Morsi's speech reflects the bond between Egypt and Syria and the shared goals and ambitions of all Arab revolutions," FSA spokesman Fahed Al-Masri told MENA.

Al-Masri urged Libya and Tunisia, who also witnessed popular uprisings in 2011, to adopt Egypt's "historic and courageous" position and to organize conferences expressing both popular and official support for the Syrian opposition.

Morsi announced the end of diplomatic ties with Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad's regime during an Islamist-organised conference on Saturday, which was held in support of the Syrian uprising.

"We have decided to close down the Syrian embassy in Cairo," declared Morsi, making Egypt the third Arab country, after Libya and Tunisia, to end ties with the war-torn country. "The Egyptian envoy in Damascus will also be withdrawn," he elaborated.

Adding that "the Egyptian people and army are supporting the Syrian uprising" and will continue to do so "until their rights are granted and a new elected leadership is chosen," Morsi's comments were met by zealous applause from conference attendees in the fully-packed, 20,000 seat stadium in Cairo.

The Syrian government has condemned Egypt's decision to back the armed uprising and cut ties with Damascus, calling it an "irresponsible" move, AFP reported on Sunday. 

"The Syrian Arab Republic condemns this irresponsible position," an unnamed Syrian official told the state-run Syrian news agency SANA, accusing Morsi of involvement in a "conspiracy... against Syria."

During his speech on Saturday, Morsi also stated that he has requested an emergency Arab League meeting to discuss options for supporting Syria.

In addition, Morsi called on world powers to enforce a no-fly zone over Syria (as NATO did during the Libyan uprising against Muammar Gaddafi). The White House has considered implementing a no-fly zone, which would require the destruction of Syria's Russian-built air defences.

However, while in support of a no-fly zone, Morsi condemned foreign intervention in Syria's ongoing civil war, especially that of the militant Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah.

"Hezbollah must leave Syria; there is no place for Hezbollah in Syria," he said

"Egypt stood by the Lebanese people and Hezbollah against the [Israeli] attack in 2006, and today we stand against Hezbollah for Syria," he added.

Hezbollah officially declared their involvement in Syria's fighting last May, calling anti-Assad rebels "Islamic extremists who pose danger to Lebanon."

At least 93,000 people have been killed in Syria since the start of the conflict, according to the latest United Nations figures.

Before the start of the Syrian revolution, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) had registered only 1697 Syrian asylum-seekers in Egypt.  The agency estimates that number is now nearly ten times as high.

An estimated 95,000 Syrians have entered Egypt since March 2011.  However, no official number is available.

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