This marked the first call by the Syrian opposition umbrella movement
organized in Turkey for the military to abandon Assad. In June, Syrians who
defected from the Army and security forces issued the same appeal in Turkey, Middle East Newsline reported.
Opposition sources said the focus on the Army would mark subsequent
conferences, including that scheduled for July 16. The opposition said
Assad's remaining supporters were comprised of Iran and its Hizbullah proxy.
It was unclear how loyal the army was to Assad. The sources said more
than 200 Syrians have fled the Army and security forces since the revolt in
March and that the most active military unit was the Army's 4th
Division, led by Assad's younger brother, Maher.
But a leading Syrian opposition activist, Ahmed Abdul Al, said the
military could oust Assad. Another prospect, Abdul Al said, was that the
regime would transfer power to a transitional body and elections would be
The opposition has been joined by hundreds of Syrian intellectuals from
Damascus. On July 13, 250 Syrian writers, journalists and academics tried to
march in central Damascus and were immediately blocked by security forces.
Thirty people were arrested.