Approximately 40 tribal leaders coming from the Homs, Hama, Aleppo, Deir al-Zor and Racca provinces of Syria attended the tribal council's meeting, organized under the leadership of the International Middle East Peace Research Center (IMPR) and Arab Solidarity and Culture Association (ARAPDER).
Following the meeting, tribal leaders published a joint declaration stating Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's exit from power would not be enough to bring about resolution in the conflict-torn nation, adding that the Syrian regime needs to undergo a radical change.
In the declaration tribal leaders also criticized states that have offered support to the Assad regime, including Russia, Iran and China. “The support of these states will create permanent fissures in the future relations between the Syrian people and these states,” the declaration reads.
Veysel Ayhan, chairman of the IMPR, told Today's Zaman on Tuesday that the meeting had several aims: “First of all, Syrian tribal leaders wanted to declare their demands. And second, to discuss the Syrian crisis with Arab tribal leaders in Turkey.” He added that the tribal council was independent of the Syrian National Council.
“The main aim of the opposition groups, including Kurds, Turkmens and Arabs, is to overthrow Assad. But the post-Assad period is uncertain. Therefore, these opposition groups should come together and discuss their aims,” said Ayhan.
Emphasizing the failure of UN envoy Kofi Annan's six-point peace plan, the declaration also calls for the support of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), adding that the only way to protect the Syrian people is to support the FSA.
Ayhan also stated that his center would continue to organize meetings in order to bring Syrian opposition groups together. The next meeting is scheduled to take place in Ankara, but the date is yet to be fixed for security reasons.