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Middle east

Opposition calls for tough measures on Assad regime

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-11-08

Syria's opposition party, the Syrian National Council, launched a diplomatic offensive on Tuesday to put pressure on the Arab League to stand up to President Bashar al-Assad at its next meeting on November 11-12.

AFP - Syria's opposition is waging a diplomatic offensive to put pressure on the Arab League to take a tougher stance against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad at its next meeting on November 11 and 12.

In a letter, the Syrian National Council (SNC) urged the pan-Arab bloc "to take a strong and effective position against the Syrian regime commensurate with the dangerous development of the situation in Syria, especially in... Homs."

The central city - Syria's third-largest - has been at the forefront of the protest movement against Assad's regime that erupted in mid-March and borne the brunt of a military crackdown on dissent and gunmen presumed to be defectors.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said five civilians were killed on Monday alone during clashes in Homs.

The Britain-based watchdog urged the Arab League to freeze Syria's membership, impose economic and diplomatic sanctions, and seek the referral of allegations of genocide and other human rights violations by the regime to the International Criminal Court.

The SNC expressed hope that it would be recognised as the "legitimate representative of the Syrian revolution and people," a move mimicking the strategy of Libya's new rulers who gained international recognition before ousting Moamer Kadhafi.

The League has called an emergency meeting in Cairo on Saturday to discuss Syria's failure to implement its roadmap for ending the bloodshed, which calls on Assad to open talks with the opposition and withdraw tanks from the streets.

Ahead of that meeting, the SNC plans "urgent visits" to Algeria, Sudan, Oman and Qatar, and to inform several Arab foreign ministers of the regime's "horrific crimes" in Homs and other areas under "extensive military attacks."

Homs is the only major city to remain outside the regime's control after military operations in Hama further north, Deir Ezzor in the east and the coastal cities of Latakia and Banias.

The SNC said it will also send envoys to the Arab League secretariat and "relay the demands of the Syrian people" to delegations to the November 11-12 meetings in Cairo.

Date created : 2011-11-08


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