Syria’s foreign minister met with his Iranian counterpart yesterday, with both sides decrying what they call an international plot against the Syrian regime.
“I can tell you that we are facing a global war against Syria, and as a proud Syrian I can tell you that it is a great honour to be part of a great country that is facing a ferocious attack by certain countries,” Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem told reporters in Tehran.
He also described a “media campaign” by the United States and others about chemical weapons in Syria.
Moallem also delivered ominous words about the battle for Aleppo, Syria’s largest city that has seen more than a week of clashes between regime and rebel fighters.
“Since last week, (opposition fighters) planned for whatever they called the ‘great Damascus battle,’ but they have failed after one week. That’s why they moved to Aleppo, and I can assure you that they will fail,” he said.
“Syria is now stronger and will move ahead in facing the aggression against our nation,” Moallem said.
The Iranian foreign minister showed his support for the Syrian regime, saying Israel is behind “is a conspiracy against Syria.”
“It is completely ridiculous and delusive to believe that there is a possibility of creating a vacuum in the leadership in Syria,” Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said.
“We call upon the people of the region to be fully aware and not to move in the wrong direction because there will be severe consequences that will go beyond the borders of the region to the outside world,” Salehi warned.
Meanwhile, the head of the Syrian National Council (SNC), the main umbrella group for opponents of President Bashar al-Assad, said yesterday that talks would be held within weeks to form a transitional government that would in time replace Assad’s ministerial team.
Abdelbasset Sida, president of the SNC, said such a government would run the country between Assad’s ousting and democratic elections. Most of its members would be drawn from the opposition, but some members of the current Assad government might also be included, he added.
“This government should come about before the fall (of Assad) so that it presents itself as an alternative for the next stage,” Sida told Abu Dhabi-based Sky News Arabia television in an interview broadcast on Sunday.
“The committees that we have set up have their own schedules. Obviously, the matter should be concluded within weeks.”
“There are some elements in the current regime who are not bloodstained, who were not part of major corruption cases. We will discuss (including them) with other parties, but there should be a national consensus to accept them.”
However, criticism about the SNC’s legitimacy may complicate its efforts to form a transitional government. It has sometimes struggled to overcome internal divisions and critics have accused the Istanbul-based organisation of being out of touch, overly influenced by Turkey, and not fully representative of the opposition.