Syrian NCC Leader: "We Refuse to Exchange Dictatorship for Islamist Rule"

Article Summary
The Chairman of the Syrian Opposition National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change has said in an interview that the most important concern at this stage in the crisis is to act to protect the Syrian people and bring an end to the violence. He called for a transition to democracy and greater freedom, while rejecting foreign intervention or the domination of the country by Islamist factions.

In an interview by telephone with El-Khabar newspaper on January 3, 2012, Mr. Haytham Manna, head of the Arab Organization for Human Rights and of the National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change (NCC), stressed that the Syrian opposition is not divided and that the local and foreign-based oppositions are working out their disagreements over a few minor issues.

Haytham Manna pointed out that some of the opposition factions have sought to be the spokespersons of the Syrian people. “I do not believe that the Syrian people are united and thus no group should speak in their name. I regret to say that the Syrian people have allowed themselves to be trodden upon. We ought to adopt a different approach of thinking. The Syrian opposition, with all its component factions, must show more consideration for what is in the best interest of the people, this silent majority which hopes to emerge from the crisis with the least possible damage,” he said.

He also drew attention to foreign intervention. He said that the NCC - which includes the domestic Syrian opposition - and Syrian officials do not favor any sort of foreign interference.

In the same context, he added that the NCC refuses to allow Syria to transition from a dictatorship into an Islamic regime. He stressed that the NCC has been calling for the establishment of a republican, democratic and civilian-controlled regime which will respond to the aspirations of all Syrians. “Like every Syrian, we demand to have a democratic state which respects freedom.”

On the other hand, the spokesman said that some opposition groups are exploiting the souls of the martyrs who were killed by the [Assad] regime, noting that that the lost lives should not be taken advantage of to promote a cause. “Having lost martyrs does not mean that we will sell our country to the devil,” he said, referring to the Islamic groups in the Syrian National Council which have sought to impose their dogma [i.e. extremist approach], while the body has insisted that democracy should be the basis of Syria’s political future.

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