Syrian National Council Founded in Istanbul
A Syrian National Council was established in Istanbul on Thursday, on the six-month anniversary of the beginning of the uprising against president Bashar al-Assad. The council is meant to become the official opposition to the regime of al-Assad, who has unleashed one of the most brutal crackdowns in the Arab world.
The council is composed of 140 public figures, 70 of which are opponents of the regime inside Syria, and others are exiled leaders of the opposition. It is the result of four days of consultations in Istanbul between different factions of the Syrian opposition.
The aim of this council is toppling Bashar al-Assad within six months and the formation of a new government after that. The leaders of the council hope that the establishing of this council will galvanize the people in the country to continue their fighting against the regime.
The leaders of the Syrian National Council do not exclude a military intervention in Syria, as more people demand in Syria that the international community protect them against Assad’s troops, but they think that for now the focus must be on the economic and diplomatic pressure on Assad’s regime.
There have been talks about the opposition in Syria, the lack of unity being the cause why it was not established until now. The members of the current council represent many social, cultural and religious backgrounds in Syria.
After the council was established the new stage will be international recognition, and then to feel the vacuum of legitimacy the regime of al-Assad has created. The Syrian council is meant to be the counterpart of the National Transitional Council in Libya, which was successful in toppling the fierce dictator Muammar al-Qaddafi.
On Thursday, the United Nations human rights council urged Syria to cooperate with it so that the investigation into the accusations of crimes against humanity be conducted and the results be presented by November.
The investigators said that there is ground for sustaining the accusation of crimes against humanity, but that the regime must allow them to investigate. So far they have only been capable of investigating in the region, with no chance of entering the country, since the Syrian authorities did not allow them to.
Four people were killed on Wednesday as the Syrian security forces, backed by armored cars and tanks, stormed settlements along the border with Turkey.
Speaking in Egypt, the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he feared that the situation in Syria could degenerate into civil war. He called for Bashar al-Assad to stop the crackdown and comply with the demands of the people.
The most important thing the Turkish PM has underlined while speaking in Egypt was that Turkey and the Syrian people do not think that Bashar al-Assad can continue as president of his country.
This is a serious change in vision, after the Turkish foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu said after the visit to Damascus that Assad would make changes in the country as soon as he reinstated order in the country.
Assad was kind of given a deadline to reinstate order Syria, a deadline he attempted to meet. Two weeks after Davutoglu’s visit, Assad announced that the “gangs of thugs” were toned down and that order has been reinstated.
Only that the people of Syria disagreed with him and continued protesting and demanding his ouster.
As the crackdown began anew, there were soldiers who began defecting the army, which prompted the regime to launch a hunt after them. There is a report that the family of a defector colonel was killed.
There was even an attorney general who quit his job and admitted that he was forced to falsify papers about the deaths of people who were arrested by security forces.
In a film posted on Youtube, he speaks of the atrocities committed by the regime, and about killings that, if proven, could bring Bashar al-Assad an international arrest warrant.
Earlier this week, activists in Syria called for a “day of rage,” as form of protest against Russia’s decision to continue to support the Syrian regime. People protested the fact that Russia opposed an UN resolution that was condemning Syria and was mentioning economic and diplomatic sanctions.11