Saudi-Backed Syrian Opposition Leader Says Overthrowing Assad Is No longer Priority

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Saudi-Backed Syrian Opposition Leader Says Overthrowing Assad Is No longer Priority

On October 29, the head of the Saudi-backed Syrian National Coordination Committee for the Forces of Democratic Change (NCC) Hassan Abdel Azim announced that the Syrian opposition will hold a new meeting in the Saudi Arabia capital, Riyadh, on November 10.

Hassan Abdel Azim said that the opposition will discuss forming a unified body with a unified policy that is based on the “Geneva I” statement. Abdel Azim also stressed that the priority now is to fight terrorism, and not to remove Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad.

When asked by the opposition media about the recent reports that Saudi Arabia don’t want al-Assad to leave anymore, Abdel Azim answered:

”That’s not the position of Saudi Arabia only, but it is the international position of the US, France, UK, Europe, United Nation, Turkey, Russia and all countries, because for these countries the priority now is to fight terrorism represented by ISIS and the al-Nusra Front or Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham.”

Abdel Azim added that the position of the Syrian president is part of the negotiations, and stressed that this will be discussed during the Riyadh meeting.

Abdel Azeim also criticized the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), and emphasized that the Syrian opposition is against a federal system in Syria.

“As the NCC or the High Negotiations Committee [HNC] we completely reject federalism or federal country because we are not a continent like Europa or America, Syria is only 25 million [citizens],” Abdel Azeim said.

Back on October 26, former Qatar Prime Minister Hamad Bin Jassim said tht Saudi Arabia don’t want Assad to leave his position anymore.

Abdel Azeim’s statement confirms that Saudi Arabia is seeking a solution with the current Syrian government away from the US and has some questions about the US-SDF project in Syria.

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