Syrian Opposition in Damascus: “No to International Intervention, No to Sectarianism, and No to Violence”

The Syrian opposition urged protesters Sunday to go on with peaceful demonstrations, noting that continued protests are a “decisive factor” in pushing for reforms in the country.

In a statement issued one day after a meeting of some 300 opposition figures, the opposition called on the government to immediately stop its “repression” on protesters and the protesters to preserve their peaceful movement.

The statement called on the Syrian government to permit peaceful demonstration, withdraw the army deployed in the streets, hold accountable all those responsible for killing protesters, release all political detainees and reconcile the army with the people.

It also reasserted the opposition’s rejection of foreign military intervention.

The meeting, which aimed to discuss the country’s six-month crisis and coordinate the opposition figures’ stances, brought forward a “three nos” principle for dealing with the crisis: “No to international intervention, no sectarianism, and no violence.”

At the meeting, the participants warned that unless the government works for ending the crisis and convenes a national dialogue conference, they would escalate the situation in all peaceful diplomatic, legal and political ways, including announcing a general strike and overall civil rebellion.

Samir Aita, a member of activist network Local Coordination Committees (LCC) who attended the meeting, warned Sunday against calls for foreign intervention in Syria.

He announced the opposition’s acceptance to dialogue, “but after the withdrawal of the Syrian army” from all restive areas and the cessation of killings.

He said the LCC would hold a parallel meeting in Berlin, Germany, on Sept. 28 while insisting that the opposition hold meetings inside Syria.

Syria has been witnessing protests since mid March.  The government said it was subject to foreign conspiracy and blames the nationwide unrest on armed thugs, whom it has vowed to hunt down and bring to trial.

The Syrian government said hundreds of its security agents and military personnel have been killed.

This article was first published by Xinhua on 18 September 2011; it is reproduced here for non-profit educational purposes.  Cf. Karin Leukefeld, “»Assad ist Teil des Problems«: Neoliberale Politik des Präsidenten hat zum Aufstand in Syrien geführt. Armee soll sich auf Seite des Volkes stellen. Opposition lehnt Sanktionen von EU, USA und UNO ab. Ein Gespräch mit Samir Aita” (junge Welt, 17 August 2011); “The #SyrOpp that doesn’t want downfall of #Assad regime is meeting today in #Damascus. #Syria” (@MalikAlAbdeh [Chief Editor of the US-funded Barada TV], 18 September 2011); “#SyrOpp #SNC sending contradictory signals. 1) Welcomes dialogue if crackdown halted 2) Keep protests until regime falls #Homs #idlib #Syria” (@Aziza23, 18 September 2011); Mohamed Awad, “Samir Aita Warns against Gulf States Seeking to Bring Down the Arab Spring” (Youm7, 4 September 2011); “Opposition Demands the Overthrow of the Regime without De-Ba’athification” (Watan, 18 September 2011); “National Coordination Body for Democratic Change: No Political Solution Until the End of Military Solution to Security” (AlWatanOnline, 18 September 2011).

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