Syrian President Bashar al-Assad called on leaders of the so-called BRICS group of emerging- markets nations to help end the country’s two-year civil war after the Arab League further isolated his government by handing membership to the opposition.
Syria has suffered from “terrorism that is supported by Arab, regional and Western countries,” Assad said in a letter to the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa and published on the website of the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency. He said the five countries, which are meeting in South Africa, offered hope to oppressed peoples experiencing foreign interference.
Russia and China have stymied attempts by the U.S., France and Britain to force United Nations Security Council action against Assad. The civil war has killed about 100,000 people, displaced a quarter of the Syrian population and left 200,000 people in government captivity, opposition leader Moaz al-Khatib said during yesterday’s Arab League summit in Doha.
At the same meeting on March 24, Arab foreign ministers agreed to give Syria’s vacant seat in the 22-member group to an executive body to be formed by the Syrian National Council.
The Syrian and Iranian governments rejected the league’s decision. Syria’s representative at the Arab League, Ahmed Youssef, described it as an “illegal precedent.” The decision was a “bad innovation” and will make “problems for the decision makers,” the Iranian Students News Agency said, citing Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi.
Meanwhile, al-Khatib, who announced on March 24 that he was resigning from his post, said today that an opposition panel will make a final decision on the issue. He gave no further details when asked whether he would withdraw his resignation.
To contact the reporter on this story: Glen Carey in Riyadh at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at email@example.com