In an attempt to encourage a coup against Bashar Assad, world leaders said at the close of the G8 summit in Northern Ireland on Tuesday that the Syrian president's henchmen would be allowed a role in a rebuilt Syria, The Times reported.
According to the British newspaper, the G8 leaders promised that senior figures in the military, security services, and across the government would survive after Assad had gone.
- Op-ed: Assad must not win
- Palin on Syria: Let Allah sort it out
- Syria slams Egypt's decision to cut ties
The commitment, The Times said, was in part an attempt to learn the lessons of Iraq, where the swift disbanding of Saddam Hussein’s military and political apparatus triggered violent sectarian conflict lasting years. It was also designed to encourage those close to the dictator to depose him from within and perhaps bring an end to the civil war, which has claimed some 93,000 lives since it erupted more than two years ago.
Will he be deposed from within? Assad poster in Lebanon (Photo Reuters)
British Prime Minister David Cameron said that the G8 wanted to persuade Assad loyalists who knew “in their hearts” that he must go that Syria would not collapse into hopeless instability without him.
However, The Times reported, President Putin of Russia defied pressure from the other seven leaders and blocked proposals to start a Geneva peace process next month. He also refused to "cut Assad loose," the report said.
The Russian leader said that American, French or British military equipment sent to the anti-Assad opposition would end up in the hands of the sort of people who killed the British soldier in London last month.
"Recently the British people suffered a huge loss. It was a tragedy next to his barracks on the streets of London. A violent assassination, a very brutal killing of a British serviceman," he said. "Clearly the (Syrian) opposition is not composed all of this but many of them are exactly the same as the ones who perpetrated the killing in London."
According to the report, Putin defended Moscow's continued supply of arms to Damascus, saying: "It is a different issue because we fulfill legal contracts. This is the legal government of Syria, there is no other legal government in Syria so far and we are fulfilling our legal contracts."
- Receive Ynetnews updates
directly to your desktop