Syria’s Assad appeals to African summit for help

Yahoo News – by ALBERT AJI and BASSEM MROUE | Associated Press

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — Syria’s increasingly isolated president sent a letter calling for help from leaders of five nations at an economic meeting Wednesday in South Africa to help end his country’s civil war.  

Bashar Assad’s appeal to Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa came a day after the Arab League endorsed Syria’s Western-backed opposition coalition, allowing it to take the country’s seat at a summit in Doha, Qatar. The move drew strong condemnation from Damascus, which warned it will take “appropriate measures” to defend its sovereignty.

Attempts to end Syria’s 2-year-old conflict through peaceful means have failed to make progress. The opposition, including the main Syrian National Coalition, says it will accept nothing less than Assad’s departure from power while Assad’s government has vowed to continue the battle until the rebel forces — which it refers to as terrorists — are crushed.

“This requires a clear international will to dry up the sources of terrorism and stop its funding and arming,” Assad said in the letter, which was carried by Syrian state media on Wednesday. It was addressed to the leaders at the BRICS forum, which was started in 2009 amid the economic meltdown to chart a new and more equitable world economic order.

Assad said Syria is subjected to “acts of terrorism backed by Arab, regional and Western nations” and asked the leaders to “work for an immediate cessation of violence that would guarantee the success of the political solution.”

The opposition’s ascension to the Arab League further demonstrated the extent of the regime’s isolation two years into a civil war that the U.N. says has killed an estimated 70,000 people.

In a further show of solidarity with anti-Assad forces, the summit in Qatar endorsed the “right of each state” to provide the Syrian people and the rebel Free Syrian Army with “all necessary means to … defend themselves, including military means.”

Following up on the endorsement, the Syrian National Coalition opened what it called its first embassy, raising its green, white and black rebel flag at different site from the now-closed Syrian Embassy in the Qatari capital.

Key opposition figures looked on, including Ghassan Hitto, George Sabra and leader Mouaz al-Khatib, who recently said he was stepping down from his post and criticized the international community for not doing enough to back the anti-Assad forces. Al-Khatib said the SNC will not discuss his resignation, leaving open the option that he could be asked to reverse his decision.

Envoys from the U.S., Turkey, France and other nations that have backed the rebels also attended the ceremony. The new embassy operations are mostly symbolic, but can serve as a base for political initiatives. Many nations in the West, Arab world and elsewhere have declared the SNC the legitimate representative of the Syrian people and have effectively broken diplomatic ties with Assad’s government.

Al-Khatib criticized a decision by NATO not to use U.S. Patriot anti-missile batteries based in Turkey to help protect parts of northern Syria from attacks by Assad’s military.

But the opposition alliance is marred by severe divisions among its ranks, and often disconnected from the rebel forces fighting inside Syria, so it’s not immediately clear how the developments in Qatar would translate on the ground.

The Syrian government said the Arab League’s decisions in favor of the opposition “violate in a flagrant way its charter.” A statement carried by state-run TV said the Doha summit “encouraged violence, radicalism and extremism that form a danger not only to Syria but for the whole Arab nation and the world.”

It said Damascus rejected the Arab summit’s decisions and reserved its right “to take appropriate measures to defend its sovereignty and interests of its people.” The statement added that Syria will continue the work to “guarantee security and stability and to protect the nation by fighting terrorism and terrorists.”

BRICS countries, including Assad’s key ally Russia, oppose foreign intervention in Syria and accuse the West of trying to force regime change. Russia, China and South Africa have also voted against U.N. Security Council resolutions on Syria.

At the gathering in the South African coastal resort of Durban, President Jacob Zuma and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, were asked Tuesday whether they would use their influence to persuade Assad to allow unimpeded U.N. humanitarian access across all of Syria’s borders, as requested by leading activists from BRICS countries.

Zuma did not answer, while Putin said only that “We will think about it.” Earlier, the Russian president said the forum’s leaders would jointly “work for a peaceful resolution to the Syrian crisis.”

In his letter, Assad criticized European and U.S. sanctions imposed on his regime and urged leaders of the five countries to “exert every possible effort to lift the suffering of the Syrian people that were caused by the sanctions,” an apparent reference to shortages of goods and soaring prices.

Syrian activist groups, meanwhile, reported violence in different areas in the country on Wednesday, including Damascus and its suburbs and the southern Quneitra region along the cease-fire line separating Syria from Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the Local Coordination Committees reported clashes and shelling in the Quneitra villages of Bir Ajam, Rasm al-Hawa and Ein el-Darb. The Observatory said rebels overran three army posts near Bir Ajam on Wednesday.

The area near the Golan Heights, a strategic goal of the rebels, has been the scene of heavy clashes for days.

In Israel, the military said it has provided medical care to seven wounded Syrians who arrived at the border of the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights — the third time Israel has assisted Syrians hurt in the fighting. The two countries are bitter enemies.

The Israeli army said medics treated five Syrians at the border before releasing them back to Syria. It said two other Syrians who were severely wounded were transferred to Israeli hospitals for further treatment.

The army said it will return the wounded Syrians when their hospital treatment ends. Israel did not reveal the identities of the wounded because having been in Israel could endanger them when back in Syria.


Mroue reported from Beirut. Associated Press writers Brian Murphy in Doha, Qatar and Josef Federman in Jerusalem contributed to this report.

28 thoughts on “Syria’s Assad appeals to African summit for help

    1. WHAT? John W you clearly have no idea what is happening in Syria! What is Assad’s big international crime?

    2. John do you really think that if Assad steps down that the fighting stops, and who the hell wants him out ? I am Syrian and a Sunni at that, I don’t want him to leave Syria to the wolfs, and I don’t want some scum bag Oil King with all the money that he stole from his people say who will be the leader and Government of Syria.
      you may not know this but let me tell you, Assad did not sell Syria out to the Zionist World Bank, he did not suck up to the American, EU take over of the Middle East for the great Kingdom of Israel super master race that wants to enslave us all, and to take our home land for free…hell no, he wont go.

      1. Ray O Hope, thank you for edification from someone who obviously knows the NWO agenda concerning Syria.

        The majority of those who post here understand this agenda all too well, but there are a few that just don’t get it.

      2. Ray O Hope, if you’re really in Syria, I wish you luck in getting rid of those rebels. I and I’m sure the rest of us here know what’s truly going on over there and our spirits support you in your stand against the NWO. Never give up and never surrender! You’re country belongs to you and NOT to the NWO or the Zionists. Never forget that!

  1. If the Africans did not lift a finger to help the man that did more for africa than any leader on the planet, Gadaffi, why would they help Assad? They are just a continent of takers and not givers.

      1. Excuse me. Assad has been in power for over four decades. The people there want him out for a reason, and I don’t think it has anything to do with Assad telling the NWO to go fuk themselves. Correct me if I’m wrong, and include links to your argument.

        1. Wow! You really impress me! You are saying that Bashar al Assad became President of Syria at the age of seven(7)?
          If I remember correctly he did not become president until 2001. President Assad is dealing with this crisis in a very respectable and logical manner with due respect to international law, dialogue and diplomacy. However, Syria is a nation under terrorist and foreign attack and has every right to defend itself, so President Assad must continue dealing with those who understand only the language of violence with an iron fist. The behaviour of the sponsors of terror and criminality (US, NATO, Israel, GCC, Turkey, Jordan et al), however, is deplorable and indicates that they are not interested in a peaceful resolution to the crisis. They have only one aim, to destroy Syria and remove the legitimate government at whatever cost in human life. This criminality must not go unanswered and unpunished.

          1. His family, beginning with his father has been in power for four decades. The Syrians opposed the transfer of power to Basher when his father died. Now if Basher is not the enemy here, than why is there a war, enlighten me.

          2. Umm…. John W, why was there no war and everyone lived peacefully BEFORE 2011? Ask the Syrians on the streets. There may have been some Syrians who may not have been happy with Assad, but they sure as hell didn’t want outside help and wanted to handle it peacefully and in a civilized way. It wasn’t until the Syrian Rebels (AKA Al-CIAda) came along with their guns, weapons, snipers, and MSM lies that the country went into a full blown civil war. That’s when you started hearing people getting sniped in the head by them and then having the Syrian Rebels blame it on the government in order to initiate a civil war.

            Hell, there were even multiple alternative news journalists who went to Syria unannounced before the Syrian Rebel campaign even started in order to see for themselves and found there were no military checkpoints anywhere. No battles. No conflicts. No abusive authority. No human rights violations. No torture. No nothing. Just people going about their daily lives. Or don’t you remember that, either?

            So please, stop listening to MSM, you’ll live longer and grow smarter. Do the research for yourself.

          3. NC, #1
            I just went back over this line of comments and believe that we are dealing with a CIA troll here!
            No rational intelligent THINKING human can be that obtuse!

        2. Exactly WHICH ‘people’ are you referring to?

          Kindly post links (that AREN’T Zionist controlled media) to support that ridiculous contention.

          1. I refuse to post the email address of a friend of 20+ years living in Damascus.
            Thanks #1, I forgot to address that issue!

        3. John W., are you on crack today or something? Your comments and arguments make absolutely no sense, whatsoever. To say the things you are saying, I’m surprised no one else has already gotten on your case about it yet. Go do some research as you are becoming a bad egg real quick.

  2. Oh hell, I’m used to being compared to chopped liver.
    From my point of view, I always win that debate!
    Liver has no brain!

  3. Looks like cartoon head is up and writing letters now. Thanks God that’s over with. I’m going to leave the writing to the pros from now on.

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