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

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: Iraq President Vows to Fight IS 'Until They Are Killed or We Die'

In wide-ranging interview with VOA Persian service reporter, Fuad Masum describes conflict as new type of fight that will take time to win More

Video Russian Anti-Corruption Campaigner Slams Putin’s Crackdown on Dissent

In interview with VOA Alexei Navalny says he believes new law against 'undesirable NGOs' part of move to keep Russian president in power More

Video On The Scene: In Ethiopia, 'Are You a Journalist?' Is a Loaded Question

VOA's Anita Powell describes the difficulties faced by reporters in fully conveying the story in a country where people are reticent to share their true opinions 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.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs