17 April 2014, Thursday
Today's Zaman

‘Arab League and West partners in Assad’s crimes against Syrians’

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is killing his own people like cows in a slaughterhouse and the Arab League nations and Western countries are content with simply watching the violence rage on, Zuhair Salim, a spokesman for the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, has said.

Salim, an exiled opposition politician in London, said in an interview with the Cihan news agency, “The Muslim Brotherhood thinks the Arab and European countries that are keeping silent in the face of a massacre of such a scale are partners in crime.”

He said not a single foreign country or international organization has yet helped or declared that it will help Syria and added that he does not think any country will conduct a military intervention in Syria. “If Bashar al-Assad wasn't so certain that the US and NATO will not intervene in Syria, he wouldn't be committing such violence and bloodshed against his own people. Assad can kill people so remorselessly because he knows no country can intervene. Not the US, not NATO nor any other country -- no one will enter Syria.”

Salim said on average 40 people die each day in Syria, but despite this figure, not a single country has stood up to Syria. “Turkey doesn't interfere even though it has the strength to intervene. All anyone does is just talk. We haven't seen anything from the international community except a few warnings, issued in whispers at times and spoken more loudly at others. All this talk is not helping the people of Syria.”

The Syrian politician said: “Even Turkey doesn't want to take any responsibility.” He noted that at a time when both Russia and Iran are openly supplying weapons to the Assad regime, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu visited Iran, where he said Turkey was not concerned with the developments in the region.

He also noted that Davutoğlu and his American counterpart, Hillary Clinton, had made a joint press statement on the developments in Syria. “We don't need the events in such a situation to be evaluated with constant talking. What is there to talk about when people are being killed every day! All of this is buying Assad more time.”

The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood's spokesperson also said that although Turkey is known as the strongest country in the region, Iran currently seems to be ahead of Turkey. “Iran is openly supporting arms and military support to Syria, and no country is saying anything against this.” He said this serves as proof that Iran is a stronger country than Turkey. “At the same time, Iranian intelligence is working with the Syrian army and killing Syrians. Every country should do its part in this situation.”

Salim said he did not expect England and France, which spearheaded a military intervention in Libya earlier, to have no intention of intervening in this case. “They appear on the outside as if they do not accept what is going on, but they haven't contributed in any way so far to the Syrian people. I am of the opinion that European countries are also helping Bashar al-Assad. Neither the US nor the EU want to conduct a military intervention in Syria.”

Contrary to his earlier statement that the Muslim Brotherhood would stay out of any armed response, Salim said they are providing financial and emotional support to the Free Syrian Army so that they can protect the people of Syria.

In response to a question on what he thought about local Syrian imams calling on the locals to join a “jihad,” Salim said: “This is not a call to jihad as we understand it. The religious scholars of Syria and the world have called on the Syrian army to stop killing people [and indicated] that doing so is wrong and is haram [religiously forbidden]. They also wanted the Free Syrian Army to protect the people of Syria. About 170,000 men of religion in Syria have said that every Muslim should be supporting the Free Syrian Army.”

Salim left Syria in 1979 after he was banished by Assad's father, Hafez al-Assad. He has been in exile in London since then, where he was offered political asylum. He hasn't had the chance to visit Syria since leaving the country. In Syria, a court has ruled for his execution. He currently continues his political struggle as an official spokesperson for the Muslim Brotherhood.

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