Published — Thursday 10 January 2013
Last update 11 January 2013 2:37 pm
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.”