Middle East

Coalition congratulates Ukrainians

Ukrainians stand in front of a sign with the picture of Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko in Kiev's Independence Square February 23, 2014.(REUTERS/Baz Ratner)

BEIRUT: The opposition-in-exile National Coalition has congratulated Ukrainian demonstrators on deposing their country’s president, calling the dramatic events in Kiev a source of hope for its own cause.

In a statement issued Sunday, the coalition said “the recent victory by the Ukrainian people restores new hope for rebels in Syria.”

“This victory also represents a final warning that dictatorship is something that free peoples will no longer accept, no matter how much dictators support each other,” it said.

They were responding to the Ukrainian parliament’s ouster of President Viktor Yanukovych, after a bloody week of protests in Maidan square. Russia is a key ally of both Yanukovych and Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Another, grass-roots response emerged in the form of a Facebook page entitled “advice for Ukraine’s rebels,” created by supporters of the Syrian opposition.

As some pro-opposition media have noted, the page is in Arabic, and thus not directly aimed at the protesters in Ukraine.

One post asks a series of rhetorical questions about the difference between the uprisings in Syria and Ukraine, and then displays, side by side, photos of Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko and Gen. Salim Idriss, the recently deposed head of the rebel Free Syrian Army.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on February 24, 2014, on page 8.




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