Syrian opposition head: Presidential poll an 'insult'

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad announced presidential elections for June 3 even as the country continues to find itself in the midst of heavy fighting between forces aligned with Assad and opposition fighters.

Syrian opposition head: Presidential poll an 'insult'

World Bulletin / News Desk

The head of the Syrian opposition called a presidential election planned for June an “insult” while addressing reporters during a week-long visit to the U.S.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad announced presidential elections for June 3 even as the country continues to find itself in the midst of heavy fighting between forces aligned with Assad and opposition fighters.

The Supreme Constitutional Court in Syria narrowed down the challengers in the poll to two members from approved opposition groups, including Hassan Abdullah Nouri, a former Syrian member of parliament, and Maher Abdul-Hafiz Hajjar, a former Communist Party activist and current Syrian member of parliament. Assad is overwhelmingly expected to win.

“The Syrian people declined this election three years ago,” said Ahmad Jarba, the president of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces while speaking to select outlets, including AA. “The international community must stand up on this issue, because this election is an insult for the Syrian people.”

Jabra minimized the severity of divisions within the Syrian opposition.

“I don’t think that the opposition today is strongly divided,” he said. “Those divisions happened previously and we are now in a new phase.”

Jarba is leading a week-long delegation of Syrian opposition leaders to Washington during which time he will meet with members of the U.S. Congress, the State Department and the National Security Council.

Following a meeting with members of Congress, Jabra said there were some misconceptions about the opposition but that progress had been made between the delegation and lawmakers. He said he was not pessimistic about the prospects of convincing Congress to provide lethal aid.

Syria’s ongoing conflict is now going on its fourth year and has claimed the lives of well over 100,000 people. 

Syrian opposition asks for anti-aircraft arms from US

The head of the Syrian National Coalition for Revolutionary and Opposition Forces called for the U.S. to supply anti-aircraft weapons to rebels who have been dealt serious blows by Syrian President Bashar al Assad’s air force.

“We do have a problem with the air forces, the air raids and the barrel bombs,” said Ahmad Jarba, the president of the Syrian National Coalition while speaking at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington Wednesday. “This is making our life a nightmare, so we want weapons that will be able to neutralize the air force.”

Washington has consistently resisted previous requests for anti-aircraft weaponry, however, fearing that militants could use them against civilian aircraft.

Jarba’s call comes as rebel forces withdrew from the highly symbolic city of Homs, known as the “capital of the revolution,” following two years of bloody clashes and blockades by the Syrian military. Homs was one of the first cities to participate in anti-government protests, which led to a strong handed clampdown by Syrian security forces eventually embroiling the entire country in civil war.

Still, the opposition leader has insisted that he does not want U.S. forces to enter the fray.

“We do not want from the West, from the United States, from the East, we do not want them to send their sons to our country, we do not want for Americans to die in Syria as they died in Afghanistan and Iraq,” said Jarba. “We do want them to face terrorism.”

He thanked the U.S. for its political support.

Jarba is leading a week-long delegation of Syrian opposition leaders to Washington during which time he will meet with members of the U.S. Congress, the State Department and the National Security Council.

Earlier this week, the U.S. announced that it will grant the Syrian Opposition’s offices in Washington and New York foreign mission status, and provide the group with a further $27 million in nonlethal assistance.

Last Mod: 08 Mayıs 2014, 09:38
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