Syrian fighters reject Assad role in interim govt

Updated 28 December 2012

Syrian fighters reject Assad role in interim govt

ISTANBUL: Syria’s opposition National Coalition said it would agree to any solution for a political transition as long as it excludes President Bashar Assad and his family.
“We will accept any political solution that does not include the Assad family nor those who harmed the Syrian people,” Coalition spokesman Walid Al-Bunni told a press conference in Istanbul.
“Our first condition for them is to leave the country,” Bunni said in remarks translated from Arabic, referring to the Assad family and the regime’s inner circle.
The opposition said Assad's forces had killed too many people for him to play a role in any solution.
In Paris, French Foreign Ministry deputy spokesman Vincent Floreani said Assad should not have any role in Syria's political transition as he had too much blood on his hands.
"Bashar Assad, who is still ferociously repressing his people and bears responsibility for the 45,000 victims of this conflict cannot be part of the political transition," Floreani said.
The statements came after international envoy Lakhdar Brahimi called for "real change" and the installation of a transitional government with full powers until elections can be held.
"The transition period should not lead to the collapse of the state and its institutions," Brahimi said, making no mention on the fate of Assad.
According to AFP, Brahimi has called for a transitional government with full powers to be formed in Syria without specifying Assad’s fate, in line with a peace plan drawn up in Geneva.
Under the Geneva plan, a transitional government could include members of the present government and of the opposition as well as other groups, on the basis of mutual consent.
He did not specify a date for the envisaged elections, but said a change to a parliamentary rather than presidential system was possible.

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Hezbollah says 2 Israeli drones downed in south Beirut

Updated 31 sec ago

Hezbollah says 2 Israeli drones downed in south Beirut

  • Israelii jets earlier attacked targets near Syria’s capital of Damascus to pre-empt an alleged Iranian drone attack plot

BEIRUT: People in southern Beirut say a large explosion has shaken a Hezbollah stronghold and triggered a fire.
A Hezbollah official later claimed its forces has downed two Israeli drones.
Israeli warplanes fly over Lebanon regularly and have struck inside neighboring Syria from Lebanese airspace on numerous occasions.
A few hours earlier, late Saturday, the Israeli military attacked targets near Syria’s capital of Damascus in what it said was a successful effort to thwart an imminent Iranian drone strike on Israel, stepping up an already heightened campaign against Iranian military activity in the region.
Residents of the Beirut district rocked by the explosion say the Iranian-backed Hezbollah group sealed off the area.