News24

Syria - scathing international criticism

2012-09-05 17:09

Ankara - Syria came under scathing international criticism on Wednesday, with Turkey calling the country a terrorist state and Egypt's leader calling on President Bashar Assad to "learn from recent history" and step down.

Alluding to the fate of the authoritarian regimes in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and Yemen, which were overthrown by Arab Spring uprisings, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi warned his Syrian counterpart that "it's too late to talk about reform, this is the time for change."

Morsi's strong comments to Arab foreign ministers in Cairo followed an address last month during a summit meeting of the so-called non-aligned movement in the Iranian capital, Tehran, where the Egyptian leader gave a hearty call for world support of Syria's rebels. Iran is Assad's strongest foreign backer.

Also Wednesday, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan slammed Assad's government.

"The regime has become one of state terrorism," he said. "Syria is going through a huge humanitarian saga. Unfortunately, as usual, the international community is merely watching the slaughter, massacre and the elimination of Muslims."

Turkey has become one of the strongest critics of Assad's regime and is host to Syrian opposition groups as well as some 80 000 refugees.

The regime's crackdown has led to worldwide condemnation and sanctions, weakened the economy and left Assad an international pariah just as he was trying to open up his country and modernize the economy. His few remaining allies include Iran, Russia and China.

Long civil war

Despite the condemnation, Syria appears poised for an increasingly drawn-out conflict. Neither the regime nor the rebels has gained a significant advantage in the crisis, which began nearly 18 months ago with largely peaceful protests but has since morphed into a civil war that activists say has killed at least 23 000 people.

As the conflict has grown increasingly militarised, it has also grown more deadly. On Wednesday, Syrian rebels said they shot down a government MiG jet and a helicopter.

A video posted online by the opposition showed the wreckage of a jet and the body of a pilot. The AP could not independently confirm the rebel claims or the video.

The commander of the rebel Free Syrian Army, breakaway air force colonel Riad al-Asaad, told the AP in a telephone interview from Turkey that rebels downed the aircraft in Abu al-Dhuhour, an area in the northwestern province of Idlib, five days ago.

The narrator of the online video, however, said the MiG was downed on Tuesday. The discrepancy could not be immediately reconciled.

Al-Asaad said the rebels used anti-aircraft missiles the FSA captured from Syrian army bases. Rebels have claimed before that they have shot down government planes. The regime has acknowledged crashes in the past, but blamed them on mechanical failures.

Comments
  • fred.fraser.12 - 2012-09-05 17:21

    Two big Middle Eastern states taking a stand. This is what the Arab Spring is about. There can be little doubt now which direction the region and humanity is heading in: towards greater freedom and human rights.

      dylan.sciarappa - 2012-09-05 21:21

      Anthony in a democratic country people are free to say whatever they please

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-09-05 21:25

      Dylan, NO, how wrong you are, democracy is NOT 'a free for all' The pillars of democracy, include; respect and decency !!!

  • AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-09-05 17:46

    Words are no longer good enough! After 18 months and 26 000 Syrians slaughtered, mainly unarmed civilians, it is time for Europe and the US, to send in Nato, to get this monster out. Those slimy Chinese won't do a thing, they are to scared the US will ban Chinese goods, which will make the Chinese economy collapse within hours, and mayby than a 'real' change of leadership will come about!!!!!. And these Russian bastards; not so sure if they will want to loose one Russian life because of this assad DOG!! It is worth a chance !!

      Madhi - 2012-09-05 20:21

      What did u eat, grass again? The Chinese own America and all they chinese need to do, just call their loans/investments and uncle Sam won't have money for salaries this month. NATO is broke and they will do squat while the Americans are busy arguing over overdraft facility for their country and interviewing a president in the process. As for Russia, well I guess I can't have it bothways hey, I like their tough stand on Syria and teaching the west not to do the libya smooth talk and install expatriates in Tripoli, yes I want them to free all muslim land in Chechnya and former soviet republics. If zionist can argue for elimination of Arabs in Palestine and importation of jews, why not let muslims run their affairs in Ghozney and Kashmir? Just stop the war and let live.

      dylan.sciarappa - 2012-09-05 21:24

      Hahaa Anthony u r truly clueless arnt u? The us and chinese economies are both in dire need of each other not just the Chinese needing the us. In fact the us is approx 16 trillion dollars in debt while the chinese have a surplus of cash.

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-09-05 21:52

      Dylan, That is my point, both the Americans and Chinese need each other, they will NEVER fight each other over a thug like assad! But at the samre time, the notion that if someone is owed a lot of money, that he is than powerfull, is plain BS !!!

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-09-05 22:59

      China is highly dependent on the US. Who do you think is funding all that Chinese growth? And what would happen to the Chinese government and China if that funding was to be eliminated or reduced? In a way, China is more dependent on the US than the US on China.

  • dylan.sciarappa - 2012-09-05 20:56

    I do find it strange that not once have the Turks the saudis ,americans the british or the Egyptians condemned the rebels for the atrocities that they too are committing. Once you realize this you start seeing the hypocrisy.

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-09-05 21:43

      Dylan, For a 'thinking person' it is not strange at all!!! For 11 months, the Syrian opposition went onto the streets, UNARMED, and the Syrian terrorist army under the command of this assad monster, mowed them down by the thousands. During this time the opposition 'demanded' from the West NOT to interfere!! Now , after 26 000 deaths and these assad terrorists using aircraft and helicopters, they are fighting back,they don't care any longer where the weapons come from, and they no longer care who supports them. They WILL defeat bthis assad monster!!!

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