Opposition warns Assad as Syrian troops tighten grip

Last Updated: Wednesday, April 27, 2011 - 19:13

Damascus: Syrian opposition figures on Wednesday
warned embattled President Bashar al-Assad that his regime
will collapse if he fails to usher in democracy, as troops
kept their grip on the flashpoint town of Daraa.

Five EU countries meanwhile are summoning Syria`s
ambassadors over the violent crackdown on protesters, France
said today, saying it was joined in the move by Britain,
Germany, Italy and Spain.

According to rights activists, the military assault on
Daraa, 100 kilometres south of Damascus, has killed more than
30 people since Monday.

As the military assault on the agricultural town near
the Jordan border entered its third day, the newly-formed
National Initiative for Change (NIC) said a democratic
transition will "safeguard the nation from falling into a
period of violence, chaos and civil war."

"Either the ruling regime leads itself in a peaceful
transition towards democracy... or it will go through a
process of popular protests that will evolve into a massive
and grassroots revolution that will break down the regime and
carry Syria through a period of transition after a wave of
violence and instability," a NIC statement said.

"If the Syrian president does not wish to be recorded
in history as a leader of this transition period, there is no
alternative left for Syrians except to move forward along the
same path as did the Tunisians, Egyptians and Libyans before
them," added NIC, an umbrella group of more than 150
opposition activists in Syria and abroad.

A wave of uprising in the Arab world since December
has already toppled the presidents of Tunisia and Egypt, while
it has led to a fiery rebellion in Libya.

Syria has been rocked by massive pro-democracy
protests since mid-March in which at least 400 people have
been killed, according to human rights activists.

Protesters have taken to streets even after Assad
scrapped nearly five decades of draconian emergency rule and
abolished the repressive state security court on Thursday last
week.

In what activists decried as a military solution by
Assad`s regime, some 3,000-5,000 troops backed by tanks and
snipers swept into Daraa on Monday.

An activist in the town said security forces shot dead
at least six people yesterday, following the deaths of 25 the
previous day.

The army said troops entered Daraa "in response to
calls for help" from citizens to rid them of "extremist
terrorist groups" behind a spate of killings and sabotage.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, April 27, 2011 - 19:13

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