Assad opponents decide to support regime change in Syria

Assad opponents decide to support regime change in Syria

Organizers of the Conference for Change in Syria spoke to the press on Friday after sharing their final declaration following the three-day meeting that brought together opponents of the Assad regime.

June 03, 2011, Friday/ 17:25:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN

The Syria for Change conference, a three-day meeting held by opponents of the Syrian government in the southern Turkish city of Antalya, ended on Friday with the participants declaring their full support for the revolution and regime change in Syria.

Many of the conference participants were opponents of the Bashar-al Assad government and had lived in exile in third countries. Most of them are now returning home, after having taken a series of decisions on what action to take to influence the course of events in Syria, where a bloody civil war has been waging between pro-Assad groups and opponents of the regime.

Participants issued a seven-article declaration at the end of the Antalya conference on Friday, saying the most important target of the meeting was to support change in Syria. The declaration demanded that al-Assad step down as president and transfer his authorities to the vice president. The declaration also said it wanted the vice president to form a new parliament within 15 days of assuming responsibility of the government, and hold democratic elections within the next year. The declaration said if these fundamental demands aren't met, the revolt will continue. The declaration emphasized the importance of protecting Syria's territorial integrity, rejecting military intervention of foreign countries, achieving change through peaceful processes and protecting the elements that are fundamental Syria's unity as a nation.

The declaration said the end-target of the conference was to create a democratic society based on the separation of powers. It also emphasized the need for promoting economic revival and supporting scientific research to aid Syria's development. The participants also announced that they will work to get the support of the Arab League, the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and the wider international community for the legitimate demands of the Syrian nation.

Members of the conference committee also responded to questions from the Turkish press. In response to a journalist's question, they said they hadn't taken up the issue of establishing a secular system in Syria, saying they didn't believe it was right to talk about secularism while there was continuous bloodshed in the country.

Ghassan Almufleh, one of the members on the committee, said the roadmap as to how the events will unfold in Syria will be decided by the “young people in the streets.” Almufleh said, “They will continue until Syria is liberated. There is no turning point after this.”

Salim Mounem said, in response to a question on what the opponents will do if al-Assad fails to resign: “The revolution will continue. Those in the streets won't go back to their homes. Nobody will go home until the demands of the young people are met. Nobody will, despite the regime continuing to kill and torture. The revolution will wage on no matter how many people are killed.”

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