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)
TEXT SIZE - +
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
Related video of Syrian violence, Assad, UN's Major General Robert Moodi
|| 0:00:00
X
May 17, 2012 3:03 PM
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said in a rare television interview that his government is fighting foreign-backed terrorists - not democracy activists - as part of his 14-month crackdown against an opposition uprising.

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

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid