BEIRUT: The head of the Free Patriotic Movement, MP Michel Aoun, said Syrian protesters’ initial calls for reform in the country were always a cover for their desire to overthrow President Bashar Assad’s government.
“They cover up their intentions with demands and these demands are acceptable and dialogue is needed, but whenever we compromise on one issue, they demand something else,” Aoun told a Syrian delegation called “Syrian mothers.”
“Until they finally confessed that their desire is to overthrow the regime and its head.”
A key ally of Syria in Lebanon, Aoun has maintained that protests in the neighboring country have been fueled by the West in a bid to over throw the government as part of a larger conspiracy against the region.
“[Protesters’] demands are not only for reform because if reforms were implemented, the Syrian people can remove unwanted officials through the electoral process, so why the violence?” he asked.
The Metn MP also criticized Turkey’s continuous calls for Assad to step down, asking what interest Turkey has to call for change in Syria.
“There are a lot of people in Turkey who do not have rights. Turkey should concern itself with its internal [issues] and then try to grant rights that the Syrian people are calling for,” Aoun said.
Aoun also advised the Syrian people not to repeat the Lebanese experience of civil war. He added that after the loss of such a war comes regret because it will never be solved satisfactorily.
Syria has been under Arab and international pressure to end violence against protesters who for eight months have been demanding reform and the fall of the Baath party’s 40-year rule.
“How can I believe that the international community which supports the violent movement in Syria wants human rights?” Aoun said, referring to the U.S. administration’s call for the protesters in Syria not to disarm.
The eight-month old crisis has resulted in the death of over 3,500, according to the U.N.