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Syria launches reconciliation drive to disarm rebels

English.news.cn   2014-04-25 22:36:53

DAMASCUS, April 25 (Xinhua) -- A total of 254 rebels from suburbs in the capital of Damascus turned themselves in to the Syrian authorities since the beginning of April, the official SANA news agency reported.

The latest group to surrender to the Syrian forces was on Thursday, when 56 armed rebels from the Damascus' suburbs of Zabadani and Kanaker turned themselves in, SANA said, adding that authorities have cleared the 56 rebels after they pledged to abandon insurgency under the mediation of the national reconciliation committees.

In an interview published this weekend, the head of the Central Committee of the Popular Reconciliation in Syria, Issa said that reconciliation in the Damascus' suburb of Harasta will soon be completed, pointing out that the crisis in the Zabadani will be resolved soon "without bloodshed."

"Popular reconciliations are steadily moving on in all Syrian provinces as a result of the growing awareness of civil society and the families and relatives of the gunmen of the plot hatched against Syria," he said.

SANA said 500 armed men surrendered to the authorities in March alone, in order to get their criminal records cleared out, adding that this process has become a daily occurrence in the towns and villages of the Damascus countryside.

The Syrian government troops have been on a crushing offensive against rebel-held areas in the countryside of Damascus, besieging many areas, mainly in the eastern fringes of the capital.

Still, the radical rebel groups consider those who reconcile with the government as traitors. Some activists contend that what is going on in some areas are not genuine reconciliations, adding that the government troops' starve-and-surrender tactic is driving some rebel groups to surrender.

However, the Syrian government sees the reconciliation as a way to solve the crisis. President Bashar al-Assad recently said his administration's main concern is ending the bloodshed in Syria through the reconciliation.

"We are continuing in the process of reconciliation because our concern is to halt the bloodshed and stop the destruction of the infrastructure," Assad said, underscoring the role of the ruling al-Baath party in making the reconciliation process a success.

Meanwhile, Issa said that some of the Syrian rebels are " rushing to settle their status" within the framework of a government-organized national reconciliations, stressing that reconciliation is still a top priority for the government.

Syrian Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi said recently that the government is earnestly striving to achieve a national reconciliation, indicating that several reconciliations have already been done.

"The accelerating pace of reconciliations among the homeland's sons has annoyed those who are betting on the continuity of the Syrian crisis," he said.

Issa also indicated that killing and destruction are still rampant in the areas where foreign jihadists are stationing, warning that those foreign fighters pose a threat to the Syrian people and the Syrian rebels, "because they kill any Syrian gunman who is willing to surrender."

"The task of foreigners and the radical mentality is to sabotage the reconciliation," he said, adding "foreigners, who espouse a sabotaging and radical mentality, are working to subvert reconciliation."

Syria contended that reconciliation is still possible with its own people but frequently says that its battle against terrorism it blames for most of the atrocities in the country will go on.

The ongoing reconciliation attempts continue as Syria is bracing itself for June 3 presidential elections, in which two people so far have announced their bid for the top post.

Assad himself, whose second term will expire on July 17, has not yet announced whether he will run for re-election, but he has reportedly expressed interest in running.

Voting for Syrians inside the country will start on June 3, while overseas Syrians will cast their vote on May 28.

Editor: Mu Xuequan
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