Syria coalition proposes transition govt; Brahimi sees Assad excluded in peace plan

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Updated 11 January 2013
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Syria coalition proposes transition govt; Brahimi sees Assad excluded in peace plan

BEIRUT/DAMASCUS/CAIRO: A core Syrian opposition group is proposing that the leading National Coalition set up a transitional government in areas outside regime control, according to a document obtained by AFP.
The Syrian National Council called on the Cairo-based umbrella group the Syrian National Coalition to “appoint an interim government, with guarantees that it will be internationally recognized and supported.”
UN-Arab League peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi on Wednesday, meanwhile, said he did not see Syrian President Bashar Assad being part of a transitional government envisaged by a peace plan agreed by major powers last year.
“Surely he would not be a member of that government,” Lakhdar Brahimi, the envoy, told Reuters in an interview in Cairo, in some of his clearest language yet on the future he sees for Assad.
The SNC’s “plan for the transfer of power and the start of the transitional period,” which was presented to the National Coalition, proposed a government with full executive powers be based in areas fighters refer to as “liberated territories.”
The road map also said the interim government must push for the removal of Assad.
The SNC, a key opposition bloc since early in the revolt that began in March 2011, united with other anti-regime groups in November to form the National Coalition, which has been widely recognized internationally as the sole representative of the Syrian people.
The transitional government should also oversee an agreement between fighters and regime forces to “organize a cease-fire and withdraw troops to their barracks, while fighters are absorbed into the army and security forces.”
The SNC said the transitional government should “disqualify Assad and the symbols of his regime (from power) and bow to the demands of the Syrian people.”
The National Council, meanwhile, should “sack the regime’s government and dissolve parliament, as well as the security forces, except for the police force,” said the SNC.
The coalition should also “dismiss the army’s top commanders and dissolve both the Fourth Division and the Republican Guard,” it added.
The SNC also called on the Coalition, formed in Doha, to organize a conference within a month of the regime’s fall, inviting “all political forces... of the revolution and society without exception.”

Assad's 'one-sided plan'
Speaking ahead US-Russia talks on Syria, Brahimi said that Assad’s new plan for his embattled country is “more sectarian, more one-sided” than previous initiatives.
He spoke as the first major prisoner swap in the 21-month conflict took place, with rebels freeing 48 Iranians in exchange for more than 2,000 regime detainees in a drawn-out deal with Damascus reportedly brokered by Turkey, Qatar and Iran.
UN and Arab League envoy Brahimi was giving his first public reaction to a three-step plan announced by Assad on Sunday.
“What has been said this time is not really different and it is perhaps even more sectarian, more one-sided,” he told the BBC.
“What you need is reaching out and recognizing that there is a... very serious problem between Syrians, and that Syrians have got to talk to one another to solve it,” Brahimi said.
Assad’s plan for a “political solution” in Syria was swiftly rejected by the opposition and Western nations as being detached from reality.
The plan offered a dialogue with the opposition to end the conflict — but only with elements he deemed acceptable, not rebel-affiliated groups he termed “killers” and “terrorists” led by foreigners.
Referring to the so-called Arab Spring that has swept the region since late 2010, Brahimi said: “Now people want to have a say in how they are governed. They want to take hold of their own future.”
“In Syria in particular, what people are saying is that one family ruling for 40 years is a little bit too long.”

 

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Temporary humanitarian ceasefire in Daesh-held area of south Damascus

Updated 44 min 11 sec ago
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Temporary humanitarian ceasefire in Daesh-held area of south Damascus

BEIRUT: A temporary humanitarian ceasefire is in place to allow women, children and the elderly to evacuate the Daesh-held area of Al-Hajjar Al-Aswad in south Damascus, Syrian state media said on Monday citing a military source.
The Syrian army and its allies have been battling for weeks to recapture the tiny Daesh enclave, the last area outside government control in or around the capital.
On Sunday, state media denied a war monitor’s report that fighters had begun withdrawing from the area toward Daesh territory in eastern Syria under a surrender deal.
The temporary ceasefire came into effect on Sunday night and will end at 12pm and the army offensive will start again immediately, state media cited the military source as saying.
The war monitor, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, reported early on Monday that buses had already started leaving south Damascus for the Daesh areas in eastern Syria.
The ultra-hardline militant group now controls only the tiny pocket in south Damascus and two besieged desert areas in eastern Syria, while another insurgent group that has pledged loyalty to it holds a small enclave in the southwest.
Pro-Syrian government forces have staged an intensive operation to recover Daesh’s south Damascus pocket in Al-Hajjar Al-Aswad and the adjacent Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp since driving rebels from eastern Ghouta in April.