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UK applauds Syrian opposition for forming national council
Global Arab Network -
Global Arab Network - The United Kingdom applauded the Syrian opposition for forming a national council in the face of the brutal crackdown by President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

“The announcement of a Syrian National Council appears to be another significant step towards uniting and strengthening the Syrian opposition. Britain has already been engaging with the Syrian opposition so we look forward to building a productive relationship with representatives of the Council” FCO's Arabic spokesman, Barry Marston told Global Arab Network.

“Regrettably the remaining duration of Bashar al-Asad’s tenure is solely to be measured in the number of innocent Syrians his regime kills, tortures and detains. Unless that is the legacy he seeks he should step down immediately and surrender power to a new generation of Syrians who aspire to democracy, peace and prosperity”  Marston added

“Britain looks to engage with and support those courageous Syrians who genuinely hold such a vision for Syria’s future and have risked everything in their attempt to make this a reality.” He said.

Members of the Syrian opposition meeting in Istanbul on Thursday announced a list of 140 dissidents forming a "national council" aimed at coordinating policies against the Syrian leadership.

Addressing a news conference at the end of four days of talks, Basma Kadmani, a Syrian exile living in France, said the council aimed to help topple Assad's dictatorship within six months and form a interim government thereafter.

"The political vision of the council will give a push to the escalation of the revolutionary work we are seeing," she said.

"This group, based on previous initiatives, and on what the street is demanding, is calling for the downfall of the regime with all of its limbs."

UK Foreign Secretary pledges continued support for Syrian people six months into peaceful protests. Speaking today, Foreign Secretary William Hague said:

“For six months we have seen peaceful demonstrations across Syria met with systematic reprisals by the Syrian regime. The regime’s response has been violent and bloody. Across Syria, towns and cities have been besieged, while arbitrary execution, torture and the detention of many thousands have become commonplace. The brutality has extended to women, children, the elderly and to prominent peaceful human rights activists such as Ghiyath Mattar, who was killed this week and Imad Abu Zeitoun, and Yahya Sharbaji who remain in arbitrary detention.

“The Syrian people are calling for peaceful reform. The Arab Spring demonstrates that the universal aspiration for open societies, political freedoms and transparent and accountable government cannot be suppressed. President Assad and his regime are deluding themselves if they believe they can halt this tide. I once again call on President Assad to stop the violence and step aside so that credible reform can begin. We will continue to work with our partners and through the UN to support the aspirations of Syrian people.”

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