The Syrian opposition said Friday it would not accept any role for President Bashar al-Assad in the future of the war-torn country, reacting to a recent US shift saying that removing al-Assad is no longer a priority for Washington.
An official in the High Negotiations Committee (HNC), a main Syrian opposition grouping, Yehia Aridi, said:”Assad is completely and utterly unacceptable as president.
“No free country can have a leader who has committed war crimes,”
Aridi’s comment was in response to remarks by U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, who said that Washington’s priority “is no longer to sit and focus on getting Assad out.”
Haley’s remark marked a departure from the policy of the Obama administration, which had repeatedly demanded al-Assad’s departure and supported rebels fighting to oust him.
Haley told reporters on Thursday that Washington would focus on working with powers like Turkey and Russia in order to seek a political settlement to Syria’s conflict, which is now in its seventh year.
“We believe that the US policy on Syria hasn’t been crystallized yet, and that is why Haley has quickly clarified her comments by reiterating the war crimes committed by the regime,” Aridi added in English.
In recent months, al-Assad’s forces, backed by Russia, have dealt major setbacks to rebels and regained vast territory from them. (NAN)