Syria opposition head says going to Geneva to remove Assad

Last Updated: Sunday, January 19, 2014 - 03:57

Istanbul: Syria`s opposition chief Ahmad Jarba has said his opposition group has agreed to attend an international peace conference only to secure the removal of President Bashar al-Assad from power.

"The Geneva II negotiation table is a one-way road aimed at achieving all the demands of the revolution... And first and foremost stripping the butcher (Assad) of all his powers," Jarba said in Istanbul yesterday after his National Coalition group said it would attend Wednesday`s peace conference in Switzerland.

Jarba said the talks would be "a turning point" in the war to topple Assad and his regime.

He accused Assad and his government of "state terrorism" and said the regime was responsible for the presence in Syria of Al-Qaeda-linked fighters like the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
But Jarba warned that taking part in the conference does not mean the opposition and its armed wing, the Free Syrian Army, will stop military operations against Assad`s forces.

"We will carry olive branches and weapons until victory," he said.
And he called the deadly violence in Syria that has claimed more than 130,000 lives since March 2011 "the massacre of the century".

Coalition member Munzer Aqbiq said the opposition will form a delegation within 24 hours and that it will be made up of diplomats, politicians, representatives of the Free Syrian Army, and legal experts.

Meanwhile the Free Syrian Army chief of staff, General Selim Idriss, called on yesterday for a "peaceful resolution" of the war in Syria and urged opposition leaders attending the peace conference to work for the removal of Assad from power.
"We urge the brothers who will go to Geneva II to adhere to the goals of the revolution," he said in a video posted on the Internet.
He said these goals were "the removal of the criminal Assad and his cronies from power, so that they have no role left in Syria in the future", along with all army and security officers implicated in the killing of Syrian civilians.

AFP

First Published: Sunday, January 19, 2014 - 03:57

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