News / Middle East

    Syrian Opposition Rejects UN Transition Deal

    From left: Members of Syrian National Council - Ahmed Ramadan, Bassma Kodmani, Abdulbaset Seida and Imad Aldeen Rashid in Istanbul, Turkey (file photo)From left: Members of Syrian National Council - Ahmed Ramadan, Bassma Kodmani, Abdulbaset Seida and Imad Aldeen Rashid in Istanbul, Turkey (file photo)
    x
    From left: Members of Syrian National Council - Ahmed Ramadan, Bassma Kodmani, Abdulbaset Seida and Imad Aldeen Rashid in Istanbul, Turkey (file photo)
    From left: Members of Syrian National Council - Ahmed Ramadan, Bassma Kodmani, Abdulbaset Seida and Imad Aldeen Rashid in Istanbul, Turkey (file photo)
    VOA News
    Syrian opposition groups have rejected a United Nations-backed plan for a political transition in Syria, calling it "ambiguous" and "a farce" while ruling out any possibility of sharing power with President Bashar al-Assad.

    A Paris-based Syrian National Council spokeswoman, Bassma Kodmani, said Sunday that Syrians "will not accept engaging in any political track while the killing continues."

    Dozens of civilians were reportedly killed the day before, including at least 30 when a powerful explosion hit a funeral procession in a suburb of the capital, Damascus. Activists blamed government forces for the blast.

    The conflict is threatening to spill across borders after Syria shot down a warplane from neighboring Turkey, which responded by setting up anti-aircraft guns along the frontier. Turkey said Sunday it scrambled fighter jets to its border after Syrian helicopters flew too close to the frontier.

    An international conference in Geneva on Saturday accepted a watered down version of U.N. envoy Kofi Annan's plan for the creation of a transitional government in Syria. But at Russia's insistence the compromise agreement left the door open to Assad being part of the interim administration.

    Rafif Jouejati, a spokeswoman for the Local Coordination Committees, an activist group with members throughout Syria, called the Geneva meeting a step backwards.

    "Kofi Annan said he [wants] to give this plan another year, and to us that's tantamount to giving the Assad regime a full year to continue the killing with zero consequences," said Jouejati. "The plan has no teeth and is simply a reiteration of the Kofi Annan peace plan version one."

    The wording of a final communique from the meeting calls for "clear and irreversible" steps toward a political transition. It says a transitional body must be formed through "mutual consent," and could include current members of the government.

    Jouejati told VOA the mutual consent clause shows Annan has "absolutely no perception of the reality on the ground."

    She said the current plan needs to be reworked into one "that has consequences for...the amount of killing that is taking place" and must include an "enforcement mechanism" to deal with Assad's "failure to comply with a single tenet" in [Annan's] six-point plan.

    Burhan Ghalioun, a senior SNC member and the group's former head, told pan-Arab Al-Arabiya television that "this is the worst international statement yet to emerge from talks on Syria." According to the SNC's official Facebook page, he described as a "mockery" the notion that Syrians should negotiate with "their executioner, who has not stopped killing, torturing...and raping women for 16 months."

    The Geneva deal was forged amid deep divisions between Western and Arab countries and China and Russia on how to end the violence.

    French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Sunday that Assad must abdicate power.

    His U.S. counterpart, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, has also insisted Assad cannot be a part of Syria’s future, saying it is now "incumbent on Russia and China to show Assad the writing on the wall.''

    Moscow and Beijing had refused to back a provision that would call for Assad to step aside, with Russia insisting that outsiders cannot order a political solution for Syria.

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the plan does not require the Syrian president leave power, saying there is “no attempt in the document to impose on the Syrian people any type of transitional process.''

    Earlier in the meeting Annan warned the participants - the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and envoys from Arab countries - that if they failed to act, they could face an international crisis of "grave severity.''


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

    You May Like

    California Republicans Mull Choices in Presidential Race

    Ted Cruz tells state's Republican Convention delegates campaign will be 'battle on the ground, district by district by district,' ahead of June 7 primary

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, many Kurds are trying to escape turmoil by focusing on success of football team Amedspor

    South African Company Designs Unique Solar Cooker

    Two-man team of solar power technologists introduces Sol4, hot plate that heats up so fast it’s like cooking with gas or electricity

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: George from: New York City
    July 02, 2012 1:46 PM
    This is a smoking mirror where Russia wants to misguide the negotiations and buy time for Assad. Why should we trust the Russians with peace making when their only agenda is selling blood money weapons and keeping Assad in power. Look at what they and China did in Libya. Can we trust them as a real partner of peace when they treat all opposition groups in Russia as terrorists? If the Russians are truly sincere than they must show an act of real courage and stand against Assad and declare that they are not going to support him. Pull all Russian troops and mercenaries out of Syria now!
    In Response

    by: Sergey from: Russia
    July 03, 2012 4:59 AM
    It is a simple decission to talk about all bad Russian this offensive way and to sit somewhere in New York City in a very comfortable room at the moment.I do not like Assad but simpathize usual people which right now lost their houses,income and have no perspectives same as in Libia,bombed by NATO.Chaos never bring prosperity,look into historic perspective,please.Our poor people know it not from others but on own experiance especially during last years.

    by: Sergey from: Russia
    July 02, 2012 12:27 PM
    It is a very easy to blame Assad on all Syrian suffers from aside,but I would nobody wish to be in the situation of regular way of life demolishing when you never know about tomorrow.Stability and mature attitude may bring people understanding how to solve their problems

    by: HOANG from: JUN
    July 02, 2012 12:53 AM
    Because the rebels have rejected UN resolution, there should be no part for them in the transitional government.

    by: Spongebob1966 from: Edmonton, Canada
    July 01, 2012 11:36 PM
    Perhaps someone needs to tell the opposition that the UN Security Council and Annan is supposed to be trying to get both sides to reach a truce. To save civilians lives and bring Syria back to stability. Not a backing for their rebellion against the Syrian government, with obviously not enough support in Syria to accomplish this on their own.

    by: peggy newton from: boothbay harbor, maine
    July 01, 2012 9:52 PM
    This is such a direct slap in the face to the Syrian people! What a sick, sick joke! SHAME on us. Are we chicken manure!???? It's wise that this forum asks to choose my words appropriately..... . Thank God! I still have a voice to speak for others as well.

    by: Jethro Bodine from: USA
    July 01, 2012 1:02 PM
    I am not surprised that the SNC terrorists have rejected another UN cease fire plan as the terrorists have either rejected all previous calls for a cease fire as well. The Al Qaeda backed SNC terrorists want to eliminate the secular Syrian government and replace it with an Islamic theocracy, so of course they do not want to share power as their plan would be foiled.

    Assad should tell civilians to clear out and then give the green light for the Syrian defense forces to move in and wipe out the terrorists once and for all.

    by: Nikos Retsos from: USA
    July 01, 2012 12:07 PM
    What transition deal? There was none! The Russian way of a transition in Syria that allows Assad to turn his coat inside out and stays in power is not a transition at all. The civil war in Syria is about demolishing the Assad Dynasty, not about forming a cosmetic coalition government to save his regime. It is time for the West to form a protected free refugee zone in the north of Syria, and pile up help for rebels there until the Assad Dynasty become a footnote in Syria's history! Nikos Retsos, retired professor

    by: robert e morrison from: northbrook, il
    July 01, 2012 12:07 PM
    The russians are essentially right in their views. The western world takes this "moralistic" attitude re Syria but as such simply do not have a moral or legal right to tell another country how they should run their country or that their leaders should step down, or that the western world should overthrow their country.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora