Syrian opposition rejects US meddling
Members of the Syrian opposition have given an icy response to Washington’s calls to revamp the movement’s leadership, slamming it for attempting to dictate its will on Syrians.
On Wednesday, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called for a re-shaping of the Syrian opposition’s leadership adding that the Obama administration was suggesting names and organizations that should be included in the new leadership that may emerge in the talks held next week in Qatar.
“This direct tutelage and these dictates are not acceptable to the Syrian people anymore,” said Zuhair Salem, the London-based spokesman for Syria’s banned Muslim Brotherhood opposition group, which is a part of the Syrian National Council, AP reports.
Clinton was also dismissive of the Syrian National Council (SNC) holding a leading role, saying that the Paris-based group of exiled regime opponents does not represent those fighting on the ground in Syria.
Syria has various militias fighting Assad, many of which have reportedly been infiltrated by radical Islamists linked to Al-Qaeda.
According to Salem, Clinton’s remarks show that Washington wishes to “tailor the Syrian opposition to specific demands.”
American criticism of the SNC reflects a growing sense that Washington has grown disillusioned with the group, for failing to gain support from numerous rebel factions. But despite US efforts to forge a new united opposition, one ready to cooperate with the West, many remain skeptical.
A defected Syrian army general, Faiz Amru, told AP that any transitional government or body created abroad, cannot possibly represent those dying in Syria. “Everyone is trying to push their own agendas,” he said. “The big powers have hijacked the Syrian revolution.”
Amru claimed that none of the opposition groups really care about fighters on the ground.
Meanwhile violence continues to ravage Syria with at least 153 people – civilians, soldiers and rebels – killed in one day, according to activists.
Rebel forces are reported to have killed at least 78 soldiers on Thursday. About a half of them were killed in attacks on military checkpoints in the north of the country that followed a wave of bombings in the Damascus area earlier in the day.
Also a YouTube video showing rebels executing soldiers appeared on Thursday – though its authenticity could not be verified. It appeared to show rebels beating about 10 soldiers before lining them on the ground and executing them with automatic rifles.
Amnesty International slammed the summary execution of security forces that have allegedly happened in Idlib.
Ann Harrison, Amnesty International’s Deputy Middle East and North Africa Programme Director said in a statement, “This shocking footage depicts a potential war crime in progress and demonstrates an utter disregard for international humanitarian law by the armed group in question.”
Adrian Salbuchi, an international consultant and author, believes the revamp of the Syrian opposition proposed by Clinton will lead to even further violence.
“What we are going to see is even more violence in Syria because in the case of Syria, Obama for example had specifically said ‘Assad must go.’, Mitt Romney has said that he would be giving anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons to the so called ‘opposition,’ the guerilla opposition, the terrorist opposition. Secretary of State Clinton has said the same,” he told RT.
Salbuchi claims that the US needs Damascus to fall quickly, to pave the way for an attack on Iran.
“What they need is to have overall turmoil throughout Syria. Let’s not forget that the road to Iran from the American point of view goes through Damascus. So they need Syria to fall quickly before the Israelis go ahead and unilaterally attack Iran.