Syrian Opposition Chief Quits, Blasts Global Support

Mouaz al-Khatib says 'international parties' wrongly push for dialogue with Assad
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 24, 2013 11:22 AM CDT
Syrian Opposition Chief Quits, Blasts Global Support
In this Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013 file photo, Syrian opposition coalition leader Mouaz al-Khatib speaks during a press conference, following an international conference on Syria at Villa Madama, Rome.   (Riccardo De Luca)

The leader of the Western-backed Syrian opposition coalition resigned today, citing what he called the insufficient international support for those seeking to topple President Bashar al-Assad. Mouaz al-Khatib, a respected preacher who has led the Syrian National Coalition since soon after its creation in November, said in a statement on his Facebook page that he was making good on a promise to quit if certain undefined "red lines" were crossed. "I am keeping my promise today and announcing my resignation from the National Coalition so that I can work with freedom that is not available inside the official institutions," he said.

Khatib blamed "international and regional parties" for inadequate support for the rebel cause, as well as pushing the opposition toward dialogue with Assad's regime—though most opposition leaders say he's killed too many people to be part of the solution. "All that has happened to the Syrian people—from destruction of infrastructure to the arrest of tens of thousands to the displacement of hundreds of thousands to other tragedies—is not enough for an international decision to allow the Syrian people to defend themselves," the statement said. His resignation comes as John Kerry pushed Iraq to halt the flow of Iranian weapons into Assad's hands. (Read more Syria stories.)

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