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Tuesday, 18 December 2012

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Neither side can win outright - Syrian VP

SYRIA: Syrian Vice President Faruq al-Sharaa said in an interview to be published Monday that neither his government nor the rebels fighting to overthrow it can win a decisive victory in the 21-month conflict.

His comments came as the regime launched air strikes for the first time against a Palestinian refugee camp in Damascus, drawing condemnation from both Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas and the Hamas rulers of Gaza.

“No opposition can end the battle militarily, just as the security forces and army cannot achieve a decisive conclusion,” Sharaa told the pro-Damascus Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar. “Every day that passes, we are moving further away from a military or political solution, “ said Shara, who is the most prominent Sunni Muslim in the Alawite minority dominated regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

“We must position ourselves to defend Syria’s existence -- we are not in a battle for an individual or a regime. “The various opposition forces -- whether armed or civilian, or linked to foreign powers -- cannot claim they are the sole legitimate representatives of the Syrian people,” he added, referring to the decision of Arab and Western governments last week to recognise the armed opposition.

He called for confidence-building measures between the warring parties and said that “the solution must be Syrian, but through a historic settlement including key regional countries and (UN) Security Council member states.” “This accord must first bring about an end to all forms of violence and establish a national unity government with broad powers,” he added.

Sharaa, 74, has served the regime for decades, both under Assad and under his father and predecessor Hafez al-Assad, but has been seen in public only a few times since the uprising erupted in March last year.

His comments to Al-Akhbar were his first published statements since July last year.

In October, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu suggested that the vice president would be a suitable pick to lead a transition government, calling him “a man of reason” who could stop the civil war in the country.

AFP

 

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