Last Updated: Sun Jan 08, 2012 08:31 am (KSA) 05:31 am (GMT)

Syria’s main opposition figure says President Assad’s power is waning

Burhan Ghalioun, head of the Syrian National Council opposition group, says President Bashar al-Assad’s regime has lost all of its political, economic, military and social clout. (File photo)
Burhan Ghalioun, head of the Syrian National Council opposition group, says President Bashar al-Assad’s regime has lost all of its political, economic, military and social clout. (File photo)

Syria’s top opposition leader, Burhan Ghalioun, has said the regime of President Bashar al-Assad has yet to implement the Arab League agreement and that it has lost political, economic and military abilities to sustain itself, in an interview aired on Al Arabiya on Friday.

Ghalioun said the waning power of the Assad regime is visible in the strength of the opposition as well as in the number of defected soldiers who are able to confront the government’s gang-like militia like the Shabiha and secure regions such as Idlib and Jisr al-Shughour.

Ghalioun, head of the Syrian National Council, said in a Special Interview program, that the regime has yet to implement any of the Arab League’s clauses which include halting crackdown against protesters, scaling back military presence in cities and freeing thousands of prisoners detained since the uprising began last March.
He said snipers are still being used in Syria and that the security forces have not withdrawn from cities, just from some neighborhoods.

The Syrian regime has not been clear on the number of prisoners it plans to release, he said while calling for prisoners to be released under the supervision of international institutions or civil rights groups.

Ghalioun said that the Arab observers who had visited Syria on a fact-finding mission had expressed some criticism of the regime’s wrong doing but he was eager to read the report the mission will be filing next week on their findings.

International intervention

The opposition figure said that an international effort to bring forth the U.N. to take action against civilian killings by the Syrian regime is brewing but was quick to point out the differences between Syria and Yemen.

He said his group opposes any foreign intervention that goes against Syria’s sovereignty but they are seeking a secure zone for civilians and defected soldiers.
He said the Gulf-brokered and U.S. supported exit strategy offered to Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh cannot be offered to Syria as the Assad regime still continues killing protesters and dissidents and is becoming increasingly strong due to regional support from powers like Iran.

The opposition will only start negotiation and transfer power during a transitional period when President Assad relinquishes all power, he added.

As for future relations with Lebanon and Hezbollah, he said that in a post-Assad era, Syria won’t interfere in Lebanese politics, and he denied ever having called for severing ties with Hezbollah. He said Hezbollah will be different after a “changed Syria.”

Iran is not a problem he said, “Only the people ruling the Islamic republic.”
On a question about the Golan Heights occupied by Israel, Ghalioun said that the new Syrian regime will actively seek its freedom, even if it means a military confrontation.

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