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Syrian Opposition Calls For End To Violence

September 24, 2012

Syria's internal opposition has called on both the government and armed rebels to stop violence immediately at a rare meeting in Damascus.

The September 23 meeting was organized by the National Coordination Body for Democratic Change in Syria (NCB), an umbrella for 16 opposition groups with roots in the country. Iranian, Chinese, and Russian diplomats attended the conference.

Rajaa al-Nasser, a member of the National Coordination Body, told RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq that the meeting was designed to amplify the voice of the internal oppostion.

"Inside Syria, there are opposition groups, not related to the regime, working seriously and with a clear vision on how to get the country out of the current crisis, so there is a need to highlight this real voice," Nasser said.

At the conclusion of the meeting, Khalil al-Sayed, a member of the National Development Party, read out the conference final statement: "The conference calls on the regime's forces to stop the violence immediately and on the armed opposition to commit to the same under appropriate Arab and international supervision....The conference requests the UN-Arab envoy, Lakhdar Brahimi, to call for an international conference about Syria where all concerned parties can play a part. The mission of this conference is to find the best political ways to start a transitional phase that guarantees the move toward a democratic regime."

The conference came a day after 29 opposition parties announced they had postponed a conference that had aimed to unify the opposition until further notice because the NCB, Syria's government-sanctioned opposition, refused to be a part of it.

Ausama Monajed, a Syrian National Council official in exile, said the NCB was letting itself be used for Syrian propaganda purposes.

The Russian ambassador in Damascus, Azmat Allah Kolmahmedov, praised the conference, calling it a "direct implementation of the process of reforms launched by the Syrian government."

Meanwhile, a former senior official claimed Iran is providing heavy support to the Syrian regime.

"Iranians are active in leading positions in the military," former Syrian Prime Minister Riad Hijab, who defected to the opposition last month, told the German daily "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung."

Earlier this month, the top commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guard said the elite united was providing advisers but not weapons to the Syrian regime.

With reporting by AP and Reuters

Source: http://www.rferl.org/content/syria-opposition-/24717606.html

Copyright (c) 2012. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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