Interview: Friends of Syria Conference aims to give breath to opposition: professor   2012-02-24 04:55:34            

DAMASCUS, Feb. 23 (Xinhua) -- A Syrian university professor has lambasted the Friends of Syria Conference due to convene Friday in Tunis, regarding it as "an attempt to give a new breath to the bankrupt opposition."

"I can't understand how the United States can be a friend to Syria after all the sanctions that it had imposed during and before the unrest, which targeted the Syrian people only," Bassam Abdullah, professor of international relations at Damascus University, said during a recent interview with Xinhua.

The Friends of Syria Conference will gather top diplomats from the Arab League, the European Union and the United States, but will be marked by the absence of China and Russia, which denounced the meeting as one-sided without the participation of Damascus.

"This conference indicates the bankruptcy of its participants," Abdullah said, adding that "it won't bring anything important to solve the Syrian crisis."

The last-ditch squeezing measure aims to unify the Syrian opposition groups and work for toppling the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, the professor said.

He said that Syria had been subject to similar international pressures in 2005, following the assassination of the formal Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq al-Hariri, which many Lebanese has blamed on Syria.

The professor criticized the withdrawal of Arab ambassadors from Damascus, saying that "the diplomatic representation is crucial to find an exit of the current crisis."

Abdullah expressed belief and optimism that the Syrian crisis will be ended by the end of next month, noting that Syria is moving according to a timetable to achieve reform.

Meanwhile, Abdullah stressed the necessity of dialogue as the sole way to end current domestic unrest, saying that the dialogue should not be limited to proponents and opponents, because there is a large number of people in Syria that don't belong to either sides and they should be involved in the dialogue.

Syrians are capable of solving their domestic issues on their own, he said.

Abdullah said that betting on the West has failed, brushing aside any possible military intervention, which was seen by the broad-based opposition as a possible solution to the nearly one- year-old crisis.

On Wednesday, Basma Qadamani, a member of the Syrian National Council (SNC), said that her council sees that "a military intervention is the sole way to end the 11-month-old crisis."

During a meeting held in Paris, Qadamani said "there are two evil eventualities for Syria's crisis, foreign military intervention or a long civil war."

She also said the SNC suggested that safe corridors be set up through Turkey and Jordan for the transport of aid into the beleaguered areas.

Meanwhile, Abdullah said that the Syrian army is conducting a military and security operation in central Homs and northern Idlib provinces to clean them from "armed groups" before the referendum of the new draft constitution slated to commence on Feb. 26.

He said the Syrian army is still strong, noting that "it only used 10 percent of its actual capability."

Opposition activists have reported that central Homs province has been under heavy shelling by the Syrian army and that many civilians were killed over the past 20 days. Among the killed were two foreign journalists who had illegally snacked into Syria and died Wednesday in Homs.

The United Nations put the death toll in the Syrian unrest at around 6,000, while the Syrian government said more than 2,000 army and security personnel were killed during the past months.

Editor: Mo Hong'e
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