Syrian opposition-in-exile says regime must fall

Last Updated: Friday, March 25, 2011 - 20:49

Paris: Syrian opposition leaders-in-exile called in Paris for the downfall of President Bashar al-Assad, asking France to maintain pressure on the
Syrian leader to "halt the killing of innocents."

"The state of Syria must stand, but the regime must
fall," Anas Al Abdeh, president of the London-based Movement
for Justice and Development, told journalists Thursday.

At his side were two other opposition leaders, Sarkis
Sarkis of the Arab Socialist Movement, and Abdulhamid Alatassi
of the Syrian Democratic People`s Party.

"Europe, and France in particular, has a
responsibility to apply a direct and strong pressure on the
Syrian regime so that it will halt the killing of innocents,"
Al Abdeh said, speaking in Arabic.

The European Union and France should quickly
convoke Syria`s ambassadors to send this message to al-Assad,
he added.

Days earlier an estimated 100 people died during
protests in the city of Daraa.

Later on Thursday the Syrian government announced
the release of all activists detained since street protests
began a month ago, and said it might scrap an emergency law in
place since 1963.

"The tyranny exercised by the Syrian regime over
the last decades is exceptional," said Alatassi, speaking in
French.

"Through its security system and policy of
discrimination, it has shredded the fabric of the Syrian
nation."

Alatassi, who left Syria in 1976, and Al Abdeh are
both signatories of the 2005 "Damascus Declaration," which
call for a multiparty system, freedom of expression and an end
to the state of emergency.

Activists in Syria vowed on Friday to push on with
rallies against "injustice and repression" after weekly Muslim
prayers, dismissing the reform pledges announced by
authorities the day before.

PTI



First Published: Friday, March 25, 2011 - 20:49

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