Sunday, July 1, 2012

Syria rebels: 'There is no peace and there is no plan'

As the international community meets to discuss diplomacy, Bashar al-Assad's opponents talk of all-out struggle

Martin Chulov in Antakya, Turkey, Saturday 30 June 2012

"Before Saturday's United Nations summit on Syria, some supporters of the country's opposition had their own plan – of sorts – to stop the unfolding catastrophe. It ignored the ongoing high-stakes diplomacy and any other talk of internationally brokered peace. All-out war, said activists, exiles and guerrillas alike, was now the only way to bring an end to the chaos in Syria.

Talking had done nothing but allow the Syrian regime to buy time and consolidate, the dissidents said. After almost 16 months' fighting in town squares and on battlefields, it was time to follow through with a momentum that many Syrians in southern Turkey and border areas controlled by rebel forces now feel is with them.

"There is no peace and there is no plan," said Ahmed Julak, 39, from a hospital bed in the southern Turkish city of Antakya, where he is recovering from a broken leg he sustained while smuggling ammunition into Syria.

"Nobody listened to Kofi Annan [whose plan to demand that both sides to step back from the brink has been stillborn since it was unveiled in April]. Not the regime, and not us. There is no dealing with these people, and that is the truth. And what is a transitional government?" he said, dismissing talk of an internationally backed administration to ease Syria free from autocracy and away from the spectre of war.

"If Assad stays or goes is not the problem. It's the regime that needs to go. If that doesn't happen, then no reasonable person can say there has been progress."......"

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