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Middle east

Syrian opposition calls on Assad to hold elections

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-05-07

Syrian opposition figures called on embattled President Bashar al-Assad Saturday to end a deadly crackdown on weeks of anti-government protests and to hold free elections within six months, in a proposal on published on an opposition website.

AFP - Syrian opposition figures called on President Bashar al-Assad Saturday to embrace democracy and hold elections within six months, saying he could transform the country and become a source of pride.

Addressing Assad, The Syrian Revolution 2011 Facebook page said "The solution is simple: Stop shooting at demonstrators, allow peaceful demonstrations, remove all your photos and those of your father, release all political prisoners, allow political pluralism and free elections in six months."

The page, a motor of anti-regime protests, said "you will be the pride of contemporary Syria if you can transform Syria from a dictatorship into a democracy. Syrians would be grateful for that, and it is possible to do."

This is the first time that anyone in the opposition has offered such detailed proposals in seven weeks of protests in which hundreds have been killed in a violent crackdown.

"You have been the head of the government for 11 years, and that is enough for a democrat," the statement said.

"You are not Kadhafi," it added, in reference to the Libyan strongman whose attempt to repress pro-democracy protests led to a rebellion in which thousands of people are said to have died.

"You are young, civilised, intelligent and open. Why do you act like him. Why do you want blood flowing? Why do you want Syria to fall into the an abyss?"

It also asked Assad to sack his advisers.

"Mister President, wake up and rid yourself of your advisers, who want to save their positions by killing others. They are acting like Kadhafi's advisers; don't listen to them."

"If you do this, you will save Syria, and Israel will tremble with fear. Otherwise it is Israel which wins and Syria who loses. You have always talked about resistance against Israel. The time has arrived to confirm this with action not words."

Syria and Israel are technically still in a state of war.

In 2008, they engaged in Turkish-brokered peace feelers, which were broken off when Israel launched a devastating 22-day offensive against the Gaza Strip that December.

Syria's minimum condition for any peace deal has always been the return of the strategic Golan Heights, which Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed in 1981 in a move never recognised by the international community.

Date created : 2011-05-07

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