9 July 2012, 20:24

Syrian National Council: “We do not want foreign military interference in Syria”

Syrian National Council: “We do not want foreign military interference in Syria”

Delegations of two large organizations of the Syrian opposition Democratic Forum and Syrian National Council (SNC) are on a visit to Moscow now. The National Council delegation is headed by Abdelbasset Sida who replaced the former leader Burhan Ghalioun in June. In the past, professor Sida was studying ancient civilizations, he lived and worked in Sweden during recent years. He gave his first interview to the Russian media to the Voice of Russia on the eve of his meeting with the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry Sergey Lavrov.

Each time the Syrian opposition comes to Moscow it is announced that there will exchange of opinions. Maybe this time you have concrete proposals?

First of all we would like to understand what Russia’s position on the situation in Syria is. When we find out what this position is and what questions the Russian side has to us we will answer them.

But the position of Russia is straightforward and it is a matter of principle. There are several red lines beyond which Moscow will never go: they are: “no” to the military interference and “no” to overthrowing the government by the external forces. What else can it be?

Out position is clear and straightforward is based on principles as well. Revolution is underway in Syria. And we are against this regime. But we at the Syrian National Council similar to Moscow do not want any foreign military interference. But we want the demands of the Syrian people to be satisfied. The Syrian problem will start to be solved only when Bashar al-Assad leaves office. If this does not happen, all other proposals including for example, formation of interim coalition government, will make no sense.

But the Egyptian opposition for instance was able to have Hosni Mubarak resigned without too much external political interference. And the Syrian opposition keeps calling for help – either Washington or Moscow. Why can’t you resolve the conflict yourself?

Because in Egypt the Army refused to shoot at its people. In Syria the army kills people, fire gets opened on populated areas, and not only small arms but also tanks, artillery and air forces are used. And that is why we have come to Moscow knowing its close ties with the Syrian regime. It's well known that Russia supplies arms to Syria. We will speak about this in Moscow. We want to explain that the dictatorial regime, which has been ruling Syria for more than 40 years, is near its end. It's about Russia maintaining goods relations with the Syrian people.

And isn’t the army part of the people? There are 300 thousand servicemen in the Syrian army. And this part of the Syrian people supports President Assad.

Nevertheless the number of those leaving the Army is increasing. Soldiers and officers are fleeing. Some of them have already formed an opposition army - Free Syrian Army. Well, we have to acknowledge though that the security services are still very strong in Syria and the Army remains under their control.

The opposition can not boast of its unity either. Opposition groups were still quarrelling at the conference at the beginning of July in Cairo. And the Kurds are demanding autonomy. Being a Kurd by nationality how could you comment on this?

One should not exaggerate the level of disagreement. There were debates but not so hot, they never grew into brawls. It is so happened that several people showed up for the Cairo conference without invitations. They were the ones who quarreled but the problem was settled very fast. As for Kurds – they are not demanding autonomy but they are trying to have the rights of the Kurdish people recognized by the new constitution. We are in constant contact with the Kurdish National Council and we have agreed to work o this issue.

What are you going to say to the Russian Foreign Ministry Sergey Lavrov? Maybe you’ll ask for something?

We would say that we have come to Moscow with an open heart, that we want mutual understanding. And there is only one condition - the will of the Syrian people must be taken into account. And the Syrian people want this regime to go. It no longer meets the criteria of this epoch.

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