sábado, 13 de fevereiro de 2016
Russia keeps bombing despite Syria truce; Assad vows to fight on / We Syrians are all terrorists in the eyes of Putin’
We Syrians are all terrorists in the eyes of Putin’
Syrian opposition says Assad’s backers in Moscow and Tehran are key to stopping civil war.
By GIULIA PARAVICINI 2/12/16, 6:01 PM CET
MUNICH — Syria’s main opposition group reacted with skepticism Friday to news there would be a ceasefire after five years of fighting, saying Russia and Iran were only interested in saving President Bashar al-Assad — whose continued presence made peace impossible.
The Syrian opposition has long opposed any deal that allows Assad to remain in power and complains that Russia’s bombing campaigns in Syria are not aimed at helping international efforts to defeat ISIL so much as weakening the opposition to Assad. The opposition’s Western backers have urged Russia to cease bombing the Aleppo area in support of government forces.
The “cessation of hostilities” announced by the United States, Russia and other members of the International Syria Support Group in the early hours of Friday doesn’t clarify what should be the fate of Assad — who told AFP on Friday he supported the peace talks, but intended to retake the entire country.
The Syrian president told the French news agency that “if we negotiate, it does not mean that we stop fighting terrorism.”
U.S Secretary of State John Kerry said upon announcing the ceasefire that “there will never be peace in Syria while President Assad is there” — but Russia’s Sergei Lavrov, who was standing beside him, dismissed talk of a change of regime as “illusions.”
“We Syrians are all terrorists in the eyes of Putin whose only goal is to keep Assad in power, but while he stays in power any solution is impossible,” said Salem Al Meslet, spokesman for the Syrian opposition’s High Negotiations Committee.
“We do not want a military solution but I don’t think a political one will be possible with Assad. It is now the responsibility of decision makers in the world to pressure Russia and Iran who support the Syrian regime,” he said.
The committee did not directly take part in the talks among world powers, which produced a deal on a ceasefire that will start in a week. However, it held separate meetings with participants on the sidelines of the talks in Munich, where senior security officials and diplomats gathered for an annual security conference.
“I hope the Syrian regime and Iran will stick to the agreement signed last night, since Syrian families are being slaughtered and starved and they can’t wait any longer,” said Meslet, adding that the Saudi-backed opposition wants Syrians to be able to return home and educate their children in the name of “forgiveness,” but airstrikes against opposition targets must stop before this can happen.
The ceasefire is supposed to take force within days and permit the immediate delivery of humanitarian aid. Two task forces will monitor the cessation of hostilities and the delivery of aid.
“Russia has been destroying everything in Syria and never came close to [ISIL]” — Salem Al Meslet, Syrian opposition
What will not stop are the airstrikes against ISIL and al-Nusra, which is considered an al-Qaeda affiliate, by the international alliance that now includes the Russians.
Pressure remains high to defeat the extremists, especially ISIL which has carried out terrorist attacks in Europe including the attack on Paris last November. But there is concern among some top diplomats, as voiced by British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond on Friday, that it might permit the Russians to continue bombing “non-extremist groups including civilians.”
“Russia has been destroying everything in Syria and never came close to Daesh [an Arabic acronym for ISIL], it’s Russia and Iran who are importing terrorism,” said Meslet, who added that it should be “moderate freedom fighters, not Russian airstrikes” who bring peace to the country.
The High Committee is coordinated by Assad’s former prime minister Riyad Hijab, who defected from the Damascus government in 2012 to join the revolution. The group, which has been participating in the U.N.-mediated Geneva peace process, did not officially take part in the Munich ceasefire talks, but held meetings on the sidelines with some of the participants, including the United States, Germany and Saudi Arabia.
Nearly 500,000 people have now been killed during the civil conflict in Syria, according to a new report from the Syrian Center for Policy Research.