Kodmani: Assad’s foes need safe haven in Syria

September 02, 2012, Sunday/ 14:10:00/ REUTERS

Opponents of President Bashar al-Assad need a foreign-protected safe haven in Syria if they are to form a credible transitional authority, a Syrian opposition figure has said.

Basma Kodmani, who quit the Syrian National Council (SNC) this week saying it was out of touch with forces on the ground, said such a body should include the SNC, the Free Syria Army and representatives of all Syria’s religious and ethnic groups. “Such a provisional government needs to be based inside Syria in the liberated areas,” she told Reuters in an interview.

“That requires a safe area where it can be based. For the moment the dangers are too high for such a government to operate from inside Syria,” Kodmani said, adding that with foreign protection, the authority could be set up within three months.

Western powers are reluctant, however, to supply weapons to Syrian opposition forces or to send warplanes to protect safe havens without a UN Security Council mandate, which cannot be obtained because China and Russia oppose any intervention.

Kodmani, who had headed the Istanbul-based SNC’s foreign affairs bureau, was speaking as French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius laid out French plans to channel aid to opposition-held areas in northern and southern Syria.

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