Syrian opposition leader repeats overture
DAMASCUS — The leader of Syria's main opposition group urged President Bashar Assad on Monday to respond to his offer for a dialogue, insisting he is ready to sit down with members of the regime despite sharp criticism from some of his colleagues.
Mouaz al-Khatib, leader of the Western-backed Syrian National Coalition, said he is extending his hand to the regime to “facilitate its peaceful departure.” And some anti-regime activists are behind him, threatening even deeper fractures in the already divided movement to oust Assad.
Al-Khatib's offer, first made last week, marks a departure from the mainstream opposition's narrative insisting that Assad step down before any talks. It has angered some of his colleagues who accuse him of acting unilaterally.
It is likely to be rejected by Syrian officials who insist Assad will stay in power at least until his term ends in mid-2014. And even if accepted, he will likely not have broad enough backing among the opposition to make any deal meaningful.
More than 60,000 people have been killed since the uprising against Assad began almost two years ago. The revolt, which began with largely peaceful protests, has turned into civil war locked in a deadly stalemate with sectarian overtones.
Al-Khatib's overture reflects the realization among some opposition leaders that a victory is unlikely to be achieved on the battlefield, as well as disillusionment with an international community that has largely failed to stem the bloodshed and has balked at military intervention to help topple Assad.
“The major powers have no vision. ... Only the Syrian people can find a solution to this crisis,” he said.
His initiative follows meetings he held separately with Russian, U.S. and Iranian officials on the sidelines of a security conference in Munich. Russia and Iran are Syria's two closest allies.
“It is possible that al-Khatib has recognized the fact that the world community is incapable of ending the crisis, but he and other Syrians can,” said Ahmed Souaiaia, a professor at the University of Iowa in International Studies, Religious Studies and the College of Law.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Al-Qaida group calls for revenge on Russia
- Russian-made ‘warhead’ blamed for downing flight
- U.S., Russia to make deal on air safety above Syria
- Palestinian ‘day of rage’ attacks kill 3, injure dozens
- Turkish president says intelligence suggests blasts originated in Syria
- Taliban retreat from Kunduz
- Dutch Safety Board: Buk missile downed MH17 in Ukraine
- Sunken vessel likely ‘Holigost,’ one of Henry V’s ‘great ships’
- NSA leaker Snowden wants to come home to U.S.
- Mexico’s army chief denies troops involved in massacre
- EU offers to ease Turkey’s refugee burden