Syrian opposition looks to future without Assad

January 24, 2014 - 5:33:47 am

Civilians gather as they inspect a site hit by shelling by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Al Assad, in the Jazmati area of Aleppo, yesterday.

GENEVA: Syria’s opposition leader yesterday laid out demands for talks on ending the country’s civil war, calling for the creation of a transitional government that does not include President Bashar Al Assad.

Ahmed Jarba told reporters in Geneva, where rival sides are due to hold days of negotiations under the auspices of the UN and major world powers, that he was looking to a future without Assad.

In a defiant speech, Jarba said the international community had now realised that Assad cannot stay in power. “We have started to look into the future without him. Assad and all of his regime is in the past now. Nobody should have any doubt that the head of the regime is finished. This regime is dead.”

Moscow, Assad’s major backer, had given assurances that it was not “holding on” to Assad, Jarba said. Assad’s officials, who left talks with a UN envoy without making any statement, insisted that the president is not going anywhere, a view endorsed by US Secretary of State John Kerry.

“Obviously, he is not ready at this point in time,” Kerry told Al Arabiya television. Jarba said talks would be difficult, long and would look at all “core issues” as a package deal. Reuters