President Assad of Syria has stated that he will not be leaving
Syria IMAGE: RT
Scottish news: Syria - Opposition factions pressured by donors to unite
by Christine Orr
Syrian opposition factions met this week in Doha in Qatar to try and resolve their differences and unite to seek to become a legitimate replacement for President Assad and gain the international community’s support.
The current lack of unity between roughly thirty-five different groups means that whenever they gain an advantage, political or military, they struggle to consolidate it.
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The move, backed by the US, is aimed at incorporating more groups in the Syrian National Council (SNC) and agreeing to select a new leader. The dissident Riad Seif is the most popular choice for the role however he claims his old age and poor health means that he could not fulfil the role.
As the conference deliberated the fighting intensified within Syria between President Bashar Al-Assad’s forces and the opposition, the Free Syrian Army (FSA). In Hama roughly fifty military personnel were killed when a large suicide bomb exploded.
"A fighter from the Nusra Front blew himself up ... At least 50 were killed," said Rami Abdelrahman, the head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. "He drove his car to the center and then blew himself up. A series of explosions followed."
On the same day another car bomb exploded in the Mazzeh district of Damascus killing three children and one woman.
Both of these attacks have been linked to radical groups, such as al-Qaeda, increasing the international community’s fear that radical groups are increasingly playing a role within the Syrian war.
President Assad spoke to Russia Today this week claiming that he would die in Syria
“I am not a puppet. I was not made by the West to go to the West or to any other country,” he said. “I am Syrian, I was made in Syria, I have to live in Syria and die in Syria,” Assad said during the interview.
He continued claiming that the world could not afford a foreign intervention therefore he has no fear of one in the future.
“I do not think the West is going [to intervene], but if they do so, nobody can tell what is next, I think the price of this [foreign] invasion if it happened is going to be more than the whole world can afford.”
These comments came a day after British Prime Minister David Cameron stated that a safe exit could be arranged for Assad to leave Syria as long as it gets him out of the country.
This is part of Cameron’s desire to re-examine options to resolve the crisis that were abandoned last year. It has not been confirmed whether this would include looking at a no-fly zone or lifting the EU arms embargo that expires on 1st December in order to arm the FSA.
Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, admitted this week that Russia is continuing to supply Syria with weapons based on a soviet-era commitment. Last year over $1bn worth of weapons were exported to Syria for defence against foreign invasion. It is feared that it is these weapons now being put to use against forces within Syria.
Lavrov continued by saying that Russia would oppose any arms embargo in the UN Security Council because the opposition would continue to get their weapons illegally.
Cameron stated, “Look, let's be frank, what we've done over the last 18 months hasn't been enough. The slaughter continues, the bloodshed is appalling, the bad effects it's having on the region, the radicalisation, but also the humanitarian crisis that is engulfing Syria. So let's work together on really pushing what more we can do."
UN special envoy, Lakhdar Brahimi, has come out to urge the international community to try and revisit a peaceful solution to the crisis as he fears that the government could collapse leading to another Somalia situation.
Somalia’s government collapsed in 1991 and since then has been ruled by war-lords.
Brahimi said, "I encourage Member-States at the Security Council to continue talks to reach this resolution”.
Noting that there is "no military solution to the crisis," the diplomat warned that "the crisis won't stay inside Syria but will flow to neighbouring countries and possibly distant countries" if a political process to end the violence is not initiated soon.
The international community of the Red Cross (ICRC) stated that it cannot keep up with the growing needs of the civilians caught up in Syria’s civil war.
Peter Maurer, ICRC president said, “We are in a situation where the humanitarian situation due to the conflict is getting worse. And despite the fact that the scope of the operation is increasing, we can't cope with the worsening of the situation."
With between one hundred to one hundred and fifty people dying every day within the country, the humanitarian situation worsens by the day.
Currently the twenty-month conflict has left over thirty-eight thousand dead, over two-hundred thousand as refugees and 1.2 million internally displaced.
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