Turkish FM Urges Syrian Opposition to Unity
Turkish foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Monday urged Syria's opposition to remain united on the shared goal of a free and democratic country.
Davtutoglu warned a "weak and disorganized" opposition would only benefit the embattled regime of President Bashar al-Assad's as it faces mounting pressure from the rebels of the Free Syrian Army.
Speaking to opposition members gathered in Cairo for a conference hosted by the Arab League, Davutoglu said Assad's government is making a futile attempt to "reverse the course of history."
"There will be a transition and change in Syria," he said. "It is inevitable, and there will be a new administration and democratic regime in Syria eventually. It must be clear that only the Syrian people are to decide about the future of any agreement on their own country."
In recent weeks SFA fighters have become increasingly emboldened as mounting successes have led to conflict in central Damascus, once an impregnable bastion of power for Assad. In recent days there has been fighting within a few kilometers of Assad's palace.
Numerous videos uploaded to YouTube document dozens of Syrian army tanks and APCs that the rebels have destroyed, as well as ambushes of mobile forces and attacks on positions in which dozens of officers and soldiers were killed.
A member of the rebel Syrian National Council speaking on condition of anonymity told the Saudi-funded newspaper Al Sharq that the rebels expect to topple the Assad regime soon.
The SNC member said that FSA forces currently control large parts of northern Syria. He said Assad's forces have lost control of over 80% of the northern Haleb district.
Davutoglu on Monday said the role of the international community is to provide support for a Syrian-led transition process. He added that there will be a Friends of Syria meeting this Friday in Paris. Some 100 countries and organizations are expected to attend.
The conference Monday comes as an international conference in Geneva on Saturday accepted a watered-down version of UN special envoy Kofi Annan's plan for the creation of a transitional government in Syria.
The compromise agreement left open the possibility of Assad being a part of the interim administration due to Russian opposition to formally insisting he be replaced.
Members of the Syrian National Council called the international plan "ambiguous" and "a farce" while ruling out any possibility of sharing power with Assad.