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The 8-10:th of October the Syrian opposition gathered at a conference that took place in Stockholm, hosted by the Olof Palme International Center. The conference was called “Unify all efforts to support the Syrian people” and aimed at unifying the opposition’s different fractions and their efforts for democracy and human rights in Syria.

The conference gathered leading representatives from a large range of different opposition parties, ethnic and religious organizations, as well as writers, university teachers, actors and bloggers. The participants came both from within Syria and from the opposition that has fled to other countries, for example France, Germany and Sweden.

A hundred persons participated in the conference. Some of the participants were the chairman of the newly founded Syrian National Council (SNC) Burhan Ghalioun, the writer Michel Kilo, the political scientist Ghied Al Hashmy, the writer Faiez Sara and the member of the SNC Steering Committee Abdulbaset Sieda.

On Monday the 10th of October, the opposition presented the results of the weekend at a press conference taking place at the Olof Palme International Center in Stockholm. They concluded that the conference had brought the different fractions of the opposition closer together and that that was crucial in order to achieve change in Syria. The participants agreed that they would continue the work of unification of the oppositions struggle for democracy, peace and human rights.

They presented the matters they were in agreement about. Firstly and primarily they all had agreed that the current authoritarian and totalitarian regime of president Bashar al-Assad must be brought down in order for a new Syrian, democratic rule to be formed. The possibility to have a dialogue with the regime has passed. There was also agreement about the importance of including the respect of minorities and minority rights in a new Syrian constitution. 

The main question where agreement was not fully reached, was regarding the nature of what kind of international intervention that should be requested from the international community. However, they all agreed about the immediate need of international observers on the ground in Syria. The idea of trying the criminal acts of the Syrian regime in the International Criminal Court, through a resolution in the UN Security Council, was welcomed. A military intervention was neither of interest nor requested.

The conference and the press conference were given large media attention from both Swedish and international media.

Published: 2011-10-12

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