News / Middle East

Syrian Opposition Groups Demand President Step Down

Opponents of the Syrian regime demonstrate with a national flag after their meetings on Turkey's Mediterranean coastal city of Antalya, June 2, 2011
Opponents of the Syrian regime demonstrate with a national flag after their meetings on Turkey's Mediterranean coastal city of Antalya, June 2, 2011

Multimedia

Audio

Syrian opposition groups ended a two-day meeting in Turkey on Thursday with the demand that President Bashar al-Assad step down. Opposition activists are also calling for protests nationwide Friday, despite the ongoing military crackdown.

Syrian opposition leaders are demanding that President Assad resign immediately and transfer power to his vice president, pending formation of a transition council to move towards democracy.

A communiqué by the 300 opposition delegates to a conference in Turkey proclaimed that they “have committed to the demands of the Syrian people to bring down the regime.”

Milhem Droubi of the Muslim Brotherhood insisted that the initial demands of reform by the opposition are no longer enough and that now its leaders are calling for the regime to be replaced.

He says that today’s demands are different from those of yesterday, because blood has been spilled. President Assad, he argues, must apologize after hundreds of men, women and children were killed, and the opposition will not excuse these acts committed against the people. The opposition, he insists, agrees with the people that the regime must be toppled.

Droubi added that the Syrian government must also pay compensation to families of victims, free all political prisoners, send its soldiers back to barracks, authorize peaceful demonstrations and set up an election process.

Syrian Opposition Groups Demand President Step Down
Syrian Opposition Groups Demand President Step Down

Meanwhile, government troops continued to pound the town of Rastan with field artillery and tank shells Thursday, leaving the town without electricity, water and phones for a sixth straight day. Opposition activists said at least 15 people were killed in the last 24 hours.

Despite the crackdown, the Syrian government announced Wednesday that it was setting up a National Dialogue Committee to allow Syrians to debate their political future.  An amnesty was also announced for hundreds of political prisoners, including those of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Ahmed Haj Ali, a pro-government analyst in Damascus, told the U.S.-funded al-Hurra TV that it is not clear which activists will represent the opposition, and who would participate in the debate.

He says there are many questions about who represents the authentic opposition and they must be examined in the coming days. He notes that the presidential pardon just issued allows opponents to return home and become part of the political process if they chose to do so.

Elsewhere, in Libya, NATO warplanes hit a series of targets in the capital Tripoli overnight.  NATO indicated that munitions depots, military vehicles, a missile launcher and a radar unit were hit.

People stand near destroyed cars after an explosion at Tibesti hotel in Benghazi, Libya June 1, 2011
People stand near destroyed cars after an explosion at Tibesti hotel in Benghazi, Libya June 1, 2011

Libyan government TV also reported that an explosion took place in front of the courthouse in the rebel stronghold of Benghazi Thursday. An explosion Wednesday in front of Benghazi’s Tibesti Hotel resulted in minor damage. A rebel spokesman accused Gadhafi “agents” of sabotage.

The head of the rebel Transitional National Council, Mustafa Abdul Jalil, insisted that Gadhafi's loyalists must stop collaborating with him, or face the consequences.

He warns that those who work for Mr. Gadhafi's regime are being given the chance to change sides, but that if they chose not to do so, they will be legitimate targets for retribution.

Off the Tunisian coast, several hundred people are missing after a boat carrying nearly 800 refugees from Libya to Europe sank off of Tunisia's Kerkennah island this week.

Witnesses say the boat foundered in heavy seas as passengers stampeded to board inflatable life rafts. The survivors, mostly migrants from sub-Saharan Africa, were taken to a camp along the border with Libya.

Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

US Investors Eye IPO for China's Alibaba

E-commerce giant handled 80 percent of China's online business last year, logging more Internet transactions than US-based Amazon.com and eBay combined More

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

As cease-fire begins, Palestinians celebrate in streets; Israelis remain wary More

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

In treatment of a 12-year-old boy Chinese doctors used a 3-D printer and special software to create an exact replica of vertebra More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid