Syria's VP calls for peaceful resolution to crisis – possibly without Assad
Mr. Sharaa says that both the regime and rebels will need to work together to resolve the conflict in Syria, since neither has exclusive rights to dictate the country's future.
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Arthur Bright is the Europe Editor at The Christian Science Monitor. He has worked for the Monitor in various capacities since 2004, including as the Online News Editor and a regular contributor to the Monitor's Terrorism & Security blog. He is also a licensed Massachusetts attorney.
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In an interview with a pro-Assad Lebanese newspaper, Syria's vice president called for a peaceful political resolution to the ongoing conflict in his country, and suggested that President Bashar al-Assad may not play a role in Syria's future – marking the highest-level acknowledgment yet from the Syrian government that a victory for the Assad regime looks increasingly unlikely.
Farouk al-Sharaa, current vice president of Syria and a long-serving member of the Assad family's regime, said in an interview with the Beirut-based Al Akhbar newspaper that “With every passing day, the solution [to the Syrian conflict] gets further away, militarily, and politically.” Noticeably omitting the political survival of President Assad, Mr. Sharaa says that “We are not in a battle for the survival of an individual or a regime.”
In an indirect, verbose fashion, Sharaa seems to demarcate a divided mind-set within the Syrian government, with Assad seeking a decisive military resolution to the conflict, while others, like Sharaa, push for a political solution.
Sharaa tells Al-Akhbar that "If anyone has the chance to meet Mister President, he would hear from him that this is a long struggle, a big conspiracy with many actors (terrorists, rabble, smugglers). He does not hide his desire for a military solution that achieves a decisive victory, and only then would the political dialogue be actually possible."
But, he adds, "Many in the [Baath] party, the [National Progressive Front, a coalition of non-Baath, pro-Assad parties], and the military forces have been convinced from the onset of the crisis that there is no alternative to a political solution and that there is no turning back."
Sharaa says that neither the regime nor the rebels have an exclusive right to dictate Syria's future, and that both sides will need to work together to resolve the conflict.
The opposition with its different factions, civilian, armed, or ones with external ties, cannot claim to be the sole legitimate representative of the Syrian People, just as the current rule with its ideological army and its confrontation parties lead by the Baath, with its years of experience and rooted bureaucracy, cannot achieve change and progress alone without new partners who can contribute to maintaining the fabric of the homeland, the integrity of its territory, and its regional sovereignty.