DAMASCUS, Jan. 20 (Xinhua) -- The 22-month-old Syrian crisis is further away from solution as the government's vision for ending the bloodshed was rejected by the opposition parties who insist the president's ouster before setting up any future administration in the unrest-torn country.
Earlier this month, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad outlined in a speech his vision for a political solution to the prolonged conflict. The initiative includes a cease-fire, a comprehensive national dialogue, and establishment of a broad-based new government and parliament.
However, the speech was rejected by the opposition, who said the vision sidestepped a point that they deemed crucial, namely the stepping down of the president. Furthermore, the opposition said they will keep fighting until Assad is ousted.
Also, the United States and its allies dismissed the speech as "disconnected from reality."
Defending the president's vision, Syria's Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem appeared Saturday in an interview with the state- TV, saying the plan was the only way out of the conflict.
"No one should dare to discuss the position of the President," he warned, adding that Assad's political program is Damascus' only accepted reading of the Geneva plan put forward last June.
The Geneva Communique, agreed by the Action Group on Syria comprising of world powers, envisaged a Syrian-led transition, including the formation of a transitional government in Syria combining representatives of the government and the opposition.
The communique, however, left the future of president vague because Russia and the United States didn't agree on Assad's role in the transitional period. The United States said Assad should leave while Russia, Syria's main ally, said the foreign powers shouldn't impose rules on the transition.
International envoy Lakhdar Brahimi who led the talks in Geneva, divulged earlier this month that Assad should have no role in the transition, prompting the Syrian government to criticize him as " biased in favor of the countries supporting violence in Syria."
In his interview Saturday, al-Moallem said his country was willing to continue cooperation with Brahimi, adding that "we ... have a political program that he can help to achieve its goal" while stressing that he should not adopt a biased stance.
The minister called on all those rejecting foreign intervention to come forward and participate in the new political program.
Meanwhile, several radical Islamists have recently emerged to be among the groups revolting against Assad's rule, with Nusra Front being a major one.
An offshoot of al-Qaida, Nusra Front was recently branded by the United States as terrorist organization after it claimed responsibility for a bulk of deadly explosions that had rocked security posts in Syrian urban areas.
The group was quoted by western media as saying that they are not seeking democracy but only an Islamic state.
The radical Islamists have observed what they regard as Islamic Sharia, or principles, in the areas they held in the northern province of Aleppo, in opposition to the Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shiite Islam which the ruling elite belongs to.
Recent reports indicated that there are differences between the rebels and those extremists, and analysts say the government's collapse would usher in an immediate fight between them.
The sectarian overtone has become loud and clear in the 22- month civil war in Syria, casting a dark shadow over the future of Syria comprising a remarkable mix of sects and beliefs.
DAMASCUS, Jan. 19 (Xinhua) -- The political vision initiated by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is "integral" and it is the political solution to the Syrian crisis "in every sense of the word," Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said in an interview with the state TV aired Saturday evening.
Starting by praying for the peace of the country's victims, al- Moallem said the political solution outlined by Assad recently had addressed all spectra of the Syrian society, including the internal and exiled opposition, adding that his country has no illusions that the violence would stop, but he left the door open for hope that it would stop if the countries that support the " terrorists" in Syria could curb their actions. Full story
DAMASCUS, Jan. 19 (Xinhua) -- The Syrian army backed by air forces pounded Saturday several rebel strongholds in the outskirts of the capital Damascus while clashes elsewhere intensified in the war-engulfed country.
Artillery and airstrikes were reported to have hit the southwestern suburbs of Daraya and Muadamieh, according to activists, who added that many people were killed in the raid. Full story