03:31 GMT26 January 2020
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    Syrian opposition says no dialog with Assad

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    The opposition Syrian National Council will not hold talks with the authorities, the council’s interim head, Burhan Ghalyoun, said on Tuesday.

    The opposition Syrian National Council will not hold talks with the authorities, the council’s interim head, Burhan Ghalyoun, said on Tuesday.

    “No negotiations with Bashar Assad, no agreement with the despotic regime in any form,” he said in an interview with Lebanese television.

    The opposition leader laid the entire blame for the tragic events in the country at President Assad’s doorstep.

    “He is a criminal. He is responsible for issuing orders to kill and arrest thousands of Syrians,” Ghalyoun said.

    “That’s enough blood, enough crime - spare your people,” he said addressing the Syrian president.

    In its struggle for freedom and democracy the Syrian opposition “will not ask NATO for military assistance,” Ghalyoun said.

    Syrian opposition leaders announced the creation of the Syrian National Council, aimed at toppling embattled President Bashar al-Assad, on Sunday.

    On Wednesday, Ghalyoun condemned Russia and China for vetoing a UN Security Council draft resolution urging the Syrian regime to immediately stop violence against protesters or face "targeted measures." The opposition leader said the veto "encourages violence in Syria."

    However, on Tuesday some Syrian opposition representatives in Moscow said they welcomed the veto.

    “Don’t you believe the media saying the Syrian opposition was against the veto,” delegation head Nadri Jamil said.

    “We have come to Moscow to say that we welcome the Russian and Chinese veto… We treasure our friendship with Russia,” he said.

    Russia and China have faced strong criticism from the West for blocking the document, which was put forward by France with Britain, Germany and Portugal.

    Russia said the Western-backed blueprint was "unacceptable" because it contained a one-sided condemnation of the Assad regime and the prospect of sanctions that might lead to foreign military interference in Syria.

    The number of victims of the Syrian unrest has climbed to some 3,000, according to the UN human rights body. The Syrian authorities, who have used force to quench nation-wide protests, deny the figure, speaking of 700 police and security officers killed by members of "terrorist gangs."

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