Middle East

Syria opposition rejects Assad in political transition

Walid al-Bunni, spokesman of National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, speaks during a press conference on December 27, 2012, in Istanbul. AFP PHOTO/BULENT KILIC

ISTANBUL: Syria's opposition National Coalition said Thursday it would agree to any solution for a political transition as long as it excludes President Bashar al-Assad and his family.

"We will accept any political solution that does not include the Assad family nor those who harmed the Syrian people," Coalition spokesman Walid al-Bunni told a press conference in Istanbul.

"Our first condition for them is to leave the country," Bunni said in remarks translated from Arabic, referring to the Assad family and the regime's inner circle.

His comments came after international envoy Lakhdar Brahimi called for "real change" in Syria and the installation of a transitional government until elections can be held. But he made no mention on the fate of Assad, whose term expires in 2014.

The conflict in Syria has killed more than 45,000 people since it began with a brutal crackdown on peaceful demonstrations in March 2011, according to rights groups.

Western media reports have speculated on a new Russia-US initiative that would allow Assad to stay in power. Moscow has already denied the existence of any such joint plans.





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