News / Middle East

Syrian Opposition Figure Offers Transition Plan

Outgoing Syrian opposition leader Moaz al-Khatib speaks during a news conference after a Friends of Syria group meeting at the Adile Sultan Palace in Istanbul, Turkey, April 21, 2013.
Outgoing Syrian opposition leader Moaz al-Khatib speaks during a news conference after a Friends of Syria group meeting at the Adile Sultan Palace in Istanbul, Turkey, April 21, 2013.
VOA News
A prominent Syrian opposition figure has proposed a transition plan for the war-torn country, requiring President Bashar al-Assad to hand power to a senior aide and leave the country with 500 supporters.

The outgoing head of the main opposition Syrian National Coalition, Moaz al-Khatib, published the plan on his Facebook page on Thursday as he met with other coalition members in the Turkish city of Istanbul.

The SNC was considering whether to support a U.S.-Russian initiative calling for the Syrian opposition and government to attend a peace conference next month to resolve their two-year conflict.

Khatib's plan would give Assad 20 days to accept its terms and another month to dissolve parliament and transfer all of his powers to Syrian Vice President Faruq al-Shara or Prime Minister Wael al-Halki.

One of them would then lead an interim government for 100 days, during which the Syrian military would have to be restructured. A Syrian transitional government formed with international guarantees would then take over.

The proposal also calls for the Syrian government to release all political prisoners. It indicates a willingness by some Syrian opposition figures to work with government officials deemed not to have played a direct role in Assad's deadly crackdown on dissent.

It is not clear whether the Sunni cleric's plan will be formally endorsed by the opposition coalition. He resigned as SNC chief in March in frustration at the lack of international support for the Syrian opposition.

The Syrian government had no immediate reaction to Khatib's plan. But, Assad has vowed to remain in the presidential post that he inherited from his late father in 2000. He also has expressed a determination to run for re-election next year.

Another SNC member Louay Safi said the coalition needs more assurances from world powers about the outcome of the proposed conference before it will agree to attend.

"We have a lot of unknowns about the Geneva conference. I mean, we are for any conference that helps transition the situation into an elective government away from the dictatorship, but that will be our condition - we are not going to accept any negotiations that do not indicate that Assad is going to be out," said Safi.

Eleven Western and Arab nations that support the SNC and call themselves the "Friends of Syria" met in Amman, Jordan on Wednesday to discuss the proposed peace conference.

In a joint statement, they stressed the need for a political solution in Syria, with a transitional government that would not include Assad, members of his government or associates with "blood on their hands."

Russia has called for Iran to be included in the conference. Both nations are longtime allies of Assad.

But, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry appeared to object to Iran's involvement in the process.

Speaking at an Amman news conference this week, he accused Tehran of perpetuating what he called Assad's "campaign of terror" by sending personnel to help thousands of Lebanese Hezbollah militants to fight alongside Syrian troops.

In a statement, the Friends of Syria denounced the involvement of foreign fighters in the Syrian conflict, calling it a growing threat to regional stability.

Lebanese security officials said Thursday that fighting between supporters of rival sides in the Syrian conflict continued overnight in the northern city of Tripoli, with the latest battles killing at least five people.

Street fighting has erupted in Tripoli repeatedly during the Syrian crisis, which has enflamed tensions between the city's Sunnis, who largely support Syrian Sunni rebels, and Alawites who mostly back Syrian President Assad - a fellow Alawite.

Lebanese officials said Tripoli's violence has killed at least 16 people since Sunday.

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

You May Like

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid