Syrian opposition leader tells peace talks that Assad must go

Reuters , Wednesday 22 Jan 2014

Leader of Syria's opposition National Coalition Ahmad al-Jarba (C) and Badr Jamous (C), secretary-general of the coalition, arrive for the Geneva 2 talks on Syria, at Geneva International airport January 21, 2014 (Photo: Reuters)

There can be no talk of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad staying in power, the Syrian opposition leader Ahmad Jarba told the first day of international talks convened in Switzerland to seek peace for the Middle East country.

He accused Assad's forces of supporting al Qaeda on the ground in Syria and called on Al-Assad's government delegation to commit to the so-called "Geneva 1" agreement immediately and transfer power to an interim governing body.

Jarba said that published photos of torture of detainees allegedly committed by Syrian government forces are similar to crimes by Nazis during World War Two. Jarba said Al-Assad was responsible for crimes against humanity in the war-torn country.

"The pictures of torture are unprecedented except in the Nazi camps during the Second World War," he told the talks in the Swiss resort of Montreux.

Syrian officials could face war crimes charges after a military police photographer defected and provided evidence showing the systematic killing of 11,000 detainees, the Guardian newspaper reported on Monday, citing three lawyers who had examined the files.

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