News / Middle East

Syrian Activist Group Threatens Opposition Bloc Pullout

A pro-Syrian regime protester holds a portrait of Syrian President Bashar Assad during a demonstration to show support for their president, in Damascus, Syria. (File)
A pro-Syrian regime protester holds a portrait of Syrian President Bashar Assad during a demonstration to show support for their president, in Damascus, Syria. (File)
VOA News
A key Syrian activist group has threatened to pull out of the country's already fractured opposition bloc because of complaints that it has strayed from the spirit of the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad

The Local Coordination Committees said in a statement Thursday that the Syrian National Council, was acting with "political incompetence." The LCC, a network of activists in Syria, accused the SNC leadership of marginalizing council members, monopolizing power, and not coordinating closely enough with activists on the ground.

The SNC has so far had little success in unifying Syria's various factions and minority groups, with many key activists already having pulled out of the umbrella group.

The most recent dispute came earlier this week when the SNC voted to extend the term of its leader Burhan Ghalioun by another three months, despite concerns among some that he was too closely linked to Syria's Muslim Brotherhood.

The SNC was designated in March as the formal representative of Syria's opposition in response to international calls for unity among the country's various opposition groups.

Watch related video of Syrian violence
Assad

Meanwhile, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported fresh attacks by the Syrian government on Thursday. The group told VOA that government forces sent at least 30 shells into the rebel-held town of Rastan, north of Homs, during a 10-minute-long attack just after midnight.

Hours earlier, Syrian President Assad suggested in a rare television interview that he has little intention of ending his deadly crackdown on dissent, despite international condemnation and a peace plan that calls for a ceasefire.

Assad told a Russian television station that his government is fighting foreign-backed terrorists - not democracy activists - as part of his 14-month crackdown against an opposition uprising.

He insisted that he faces little domestic opposition, instead blaming the unrest on foreign mercenaries who want to see him overthrown. He said armed opposition groups, such as the Free Syrian Army, are filled with criminals and religious extremists.

"It's not an army, first of all, and it's not free because they get their arms from different foreign countries, Assad told the interviewer. "That's why they're not free at all. They are a bunch of criminals who have been violating the law for years and have been sentenced in various criminal cases. They are religious extremists like those from al-Qaida."

UN observers

Assad also accused U.N. observers in Syria of unfairly criticizing violence by government forces and ignoring attacks by terrorists.

The presence of the U.N. observer team has done little to stop the bloodshed. On Wednesday, Syrian activists said government shelling and gunfire killed at least nine people across the country, most of them in a region where a part of the U.N. team was caught up in a deadly shooting and bomb blast the day before.

The U.N. personnel are part of a larger group of observers who have deployed across Syria to assess government and rebel compliance with a fragile April truce brokered by international mediator Kofi Annan.

The United Nations says more than 9,000 people have been killed in violence related to the anti-government uprising that erupted more than a year ago. The Syrian government has blamed armed terrorist groups for much of the country's unrest.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.
 

Join the conversation on our social journalism site -
Middle East Voices. Follow our Middle East reports on
Twitter and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

US Border Patrol Union Accused of Taking Sides on Immigration

Report alleges agents leaking info to immigration opponents, appearing at their private events; Center for Immigration Studies director defends agents' actions More

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Reporting from Somali capital for past decade, Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal has been working at one of Mogadishu's leading radio stations covering parliament More

Video Rights Monitor: Hate Groups' Use of Internet to Inflame, Recruit Growing

Wiesenthal Center's Abraham Cooper says extremists have become skilled at celebrating violence, ideology on Web More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Anonymous
May 17, 2012 10:30 AM
It sure seems like Assad is in his "Own little world" if he tries telling the world we live in that most of the public in his own country is terrorists. Assad now manages a killing machine, a meat grinder, on his very own people. Seems pretty bad when you manage a country and can't even face your own people in public. It's just a matter of time before one of his own people assassinates him. You can only kick a poodle so many times before it bites you.

by: Michael from: usa
May 17, 2012 8:10 AM
The Syrian National Council (SNC) is having its unity broken by the Local Coordination group without any explanation as to how this would improve the SNC in the critical months ahead

by: AZcitizen
May 17, 2012 6:48 AM
"Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said in a rare television interview that his government is fighting foreign-backed terrorists." Who left out the preposition? It should evidently read: "...his government is fighting ALONGSIDE foreign-backed terrorists".

by: beancube2010
May 17, 2012 5:39 AM
This psychopath, Assad, will assassin Putin when he runs into dead end and Putin refuses his demand.

by: Dave from: Idaho
May 17, 2012 5:22 AM
Pretty unfinded and fact-challenged name calling. And he even looks like a Tea Partier.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Interneti
X
Mike O'Sullivan
June 30, 2015 8:20 PM
Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs