Syrian opposition rejects any idea that would allow Assad to say on in limited role

Special to

An idea proposed during UN-chaired talks in Syria that would allow President Bashar Assad to retain power on an interim basis was immediately shot down by the Syrian opposition.

Reports said the idea was put forward during a meeting on April 15 in Geneva between the opposition High Negotiations Committee (HNC) and a UN team led by special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura.

Syrian President Bashar Assad
Syrian President Bashar Assad

“There was no proposal, they were trying to see what the HNC will accept,” chief spokesman Salem al-Muslet said on April 16. “There is no way Assad will stay in power, no way the Syrians will accept that.”

Syria has described any calls for Assad to step down as a “red line.”

The UN-sponsored negotiations are intended to lead to an interim power-sharing administration and culminate in elections in 2017 under a new constitution.

Meanwhile, the Syrian regime responded to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s declaration that Israel will never surrender the Golan Heights by saying Syria will “retake the Golan Heights by any means necessary, including using military force.”

“The Arab Syrian Golan is an occupied territory,” Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Al-Mekdad told Lebanon’s al-Mayadeen.

Netanyahu’s declaration, made during a Cabinet meeting on April 17, was a case of “Israel…trying to be provocative, but (we) do not give in to it,” Al-Mekdad said.

Netanyahu called on the international community to recognize two things, firstly that “no matter what happens across the border, the (border) line itself will not change. Second, after 50 years the time has come for the international community to finally recognize that the Golan will always remain under Israeli sovereignty.”