Opposition joins forces
The Syrian National Council and the National Coordination Committee signed a joint agreement yesterday in Cairo. They will hold a conference next month to bring in other groups in an effort to draw all groups opposed to the Bashar Al-Assad regime into one united opposition.
The Syrian National Council, which is based in Turkey and has been recognised by a number of countries, had previously encouraged foreign intervention in the current unrest, suggesting that a ‘no fly zone’ should be imposed. The National Coordination Committee, a loose grouping of political parties and civic society groups has rejected this approach, seeking to solve the uprising through dialogue.
The two groups have agreed to a one year transitional period once the Al-Assad regime has been toppled. During that time they will introduce a new constitution which will create a ‘parliamentary system for a democratic, pluralistic, civil state’ according to Reuters who have seen the document.
They have also agreed to reject foreign intervention that harms sovereignty or stability of the country. They do not consider Arab intervention as being foreign.
The document also states that religious freedom will be protected and that they reject sectarianism.
Meanwhile Arab League monitors are now in dispute with each other. Television coverage shows one Arab League monitor saying that he had seen snipers on rooftops with his own eyes. Subsequently the head of the Arab League monitoring team General Mohammed Ahmed Mustafa al-Dabi from Sudan denied that the man had seen any snipers.
The United Nations estimates that around 5,800 people died in 2011 as a result of the uprising. Nevertheless, hundreds of thousands of protesters were demonstrating again over the weekend, apparently emboldened by the presence of the Arab League monitors.