Top Syrian defector rallying foreign support + Related Articles
Laaska News July 27, 2012
A top-ranking Syrian military defector is visiting the country’s neighbors apparently to rally support to bring down the government of President Bashar al-Assad.
Former brigadier general Manaf Tlas met Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in Ankara on Thursday. They’re believed to have discussed the possibility of cooperation between Turkey and Syrian defectors.
Before going to Turkey, Tlas visited Saudi Arabia. He told a local newspaper that he’s trying to find out whether Saudi Arabia and other nations will help draft a timetable to get Syria out of its current crisis.
He said he’s urging opposition groups in and outside Syria to unite. He added that it’s unthinkable that Assad will remain as president after the crisis.
Tlas fled Syria and sought asylum in France in early July.
Other senior military officers and diplomats have been defecting from the Assad government as Syria falls into a state of civil war.
But the dissidents have yet to find a leader. It remains unclear whether Tlas’s call for unity will win their support.
Jul. 27, 2012 – Updated 07:28 UTC (16:28 JST).
Arabs to seek UN General Assembly action on Syria
Arab nations say they plan to submit to the UN General Assembly a draft resolution calling for a transition to a democratic government in Syria.
Saudi Arabia’s UN Ambassador Abdallah al-Mouallimi and Qatari diplomat Abdulrahman Al-Hamadi announced the move at the UN Security Council on Wednesday.
Unlike Security Council resolutions, General Assembly resolutions are not legally binding.
The move comes a week after Russia and China rejected a Security Council draft resolution that would have imposed sanctions on the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad. It was their 3rd similar veto.
Al-Hamadi said he regrets the Security Council’s inability to effectively deal with the Syrian crisis. He cited the Syrian government’s dangers to the region, including a threat to use chemical weapons.
He said that Arab nations are going to the General Assembly to deal with the Syrian crisis.
But Syria’s UN ambassador, Basahar Ja’afari hit back, accusing Saudi Arabia and Qatar of interfering militarily, financially and politically in Syria. He said that neither country is in a position to discuss democracy as their actions reflect their interest in oil.
Saudi Arabia and Qatar are reportedly providing arms to Syrian opposition groups.
Jul. 26, 2012 – Updated 10:22 UTC (19:22 JST)
Turkey holds emergency meeting to discuss Syria
Turkey has held an emergency meeting to discuss the situation in neighboring Syria, following the disclosure that the war-torn country has chemical weapons.
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan chaired the meeting at his office on Wednesday, with cabinet members and senior military personnel attending.
Details have not been revealed but local media says the meeting likely discussed border security and how to deal with Syria should it use the weapons.
A Syrian foreign ministry spokesman made the weapons claim on Monday. He said the weapons will not be used against civilians, but will be used if Syria is attacked.
Prime Minister Erdogan likely also discussed the deployment of a special battalion of troops trained in chemical weapons to the Syrian border on Tuesday.
Turkey decided to close off its border with Syria on Wednesday. That followed intensified fighting between government troops and rebels in Syria’s northern city of Aleppo and surrounding areas.
Jul. 25, 2012 – Updated 22:46 UTC (07:46 JST)