Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat – Arab Parliament president, Ali Salim Al Diqbasi, yesterday called on Arab states to work to oust the Syrian regime “willingly or unwillingly”, whilst the Arab Parliament is also set to discuss formally recognizing the opposition Syrian National Council [SNC] later today in Cairo. The Arab Parliament will also discuss the forthcoming Arab League summit which is scheduled to take place in Baghdad later this month.
Syrian opposition leadership informed Asharq Al-Awsat that they are not expecting much from this summit, particularly as it is being held in Baghdad, which has strong ties to both Syria and Iran. Asked whether the Syrian opposition is counting on the Arab League playing a role in the coming period in resolving the Syrian crisis, in light of the forthcoming Baghdad summit, SNC chairman Burhan Ghalioun told Asharq Al-Awsat that “firstly and foremost, we are relying on the Syrian people, and on the arms of our people, and on the feet of our youth.” He added “if anybody wants to provide us with assistance, we will not say no…the Arab League continues to defend its initiative which is based on demanding the departure of al-Assad, which is our demand as well, and if the United Nations [UN] wants to issue a resolution to stop the killing, then we support this as well, but we are betting, primarily, on the Syrian people.”
As for whether the Syrian opposition is in direct contact with the Arab League or the Arab Parliament, which called for the ouster of the al-Assad regime yesterday, Ghalioun said “this is the decision of some Arab states, and we welcome this, that is why we are saying that the Arabs should have a bigger role, not a smaller one…we support the Arabs having a bigger role [in resolving the Syrian crisis] because nobody can accept the presence of this [al-Assad] regime, not within Syria or outside.”
Talking about the issue of arming the Syrian opposition, Ghalioun said “there are calls for the Syrian opposition to be armed by certain parties and by the Syrian people that wants to get rid of this regime…we would prefer if all arms entering Syria were under the control of the SNC and particularly the Free Syrian Army [FSA] and the [military] liaison office.
He added “until now, we have yet to receive any arms…and weapons must not be randomly distributed throughout Syria; arms must remain under the direct supervision of the FSA.”