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Army defector near Deraa
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Syrian opposition: All-out civil uprising near

National Council member tells London conference 'if Assad leaves now, he will avoid Gaddafi's fate'

Roi Kais
Published: 12.29.11, 15:32 / Israel News

"Syrians are close to achieving their goal – liberty," a member of the Syrian National Council, which represents the opposition in the Arab country, said Wednesday during a conference in London.

 

"President Bashar Assad's regime is defending its last strongholds as we are nearing the point of an all-out civil uprising," Ahmed Ramadan said.

 

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"If Assad leaves now, he will avoid the same fate as (killed Libyan leader) Muammar Gaddafi. We know there are two European countries and another Arab country which are working to secure his safe departure from Syria," the opposition member was quoted as saying by the London-based Arabic newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat.

 

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Syrians plead with Arab League monitors

 

According to Ramadan, "the revolution's success is based on the National Council's ability to isolate the Syrian regime, which admits that its members cannot visit countries that are not Damascus' allies."

 

During the conference Ramadan stated that countries in the Middle East have been told to prepare for the post-Assad era. "No one has spoken to us about reform or coexisting with Assad," he added.

 

On Wednesday Syrian security forces killed 14 civilians, including a five-year-old boy from Homs. Seven soldiers and three army defectors were killed in other clashes throughout the country.

 

Arab League peace monitors headed to three more Syrian cities on Thursday to check whether government forces have halted violence against protesters as Damascus promised after observers in the center of the unrest were mobbed by people demanding protection.

 

The cities of Deraa, Hama and Idlib lie along a 450 km (280 mile) arc of revolt from the south to the north of Syria. At its middle point is Homs, where the Arab mission's second day had a controversial start when its Sudanese leader said on Wednesday he saw "nothing frightening" in his initial tour of the city.

 

Opposition activists say Homs has seen the worst of the violence since the revolt began nine months ago, with army tanks in action and three dozen people killed the day before the monitors arrived.

 

The Arab mission is the first significant international involvement in Syria's conflict, in which thousands have been killed in a military crackdown on the uprising against 41 years of rule by the family of President Assad.

 

"People really hope to get to reach them. We do not have much access to the team. The people stopped believing anything or anyone now. Only God can help us now," said Abu Hisham, an opposition activist in Hama.

 

Reuters contributed to the report

 

 

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