First Published: 2005-03-01

 
Syrian opposition gets boost from Lebanon
 

Opposition looks for democratic spillover from Lebanon following Karameh’s resignation.

 

Middle East Online

By Adnane Zaka - DAMASCUS

History is on the move and nobody can halt its progress: Amiralay

Syrian opposition figures Tuesday hailed the fall of the Damascus-backed government in Beirut under the weight of mass street protests as a possible catalyst for democratic change in their own country.

But they also warned Lebanon's opposition which mounted the campaign of peaceful demonstrations in Beirut since the February 14 murder of former Lebanese premier Rafiq Hariri not to burn bridges with neighbouring Syria.

Even after Prime Minister Omar Karameh resigned on Monday the opposition, which blamed the government and Damascus for the killing, vowed to keep up the protests until Syria pulls its 14,000 troops out of its tiny neighbour.

"A Syrian withdrawal is inevitable. History is on the move and nobody can halt its progress," said Syrian filmmaker Omar Amiralay. He said Lebanon was now playing the role of "engine for change" in the region.

"I welcome this promising democratic change which will have a contagious effect on the Syrian hinterland and be of benefit for the Syrian and Lebanese peoples," said Amiralay.

He said that "by suppressing the Damascus spring, the Syrian regime thought it had put an end to all disputes", referring to calls for democratic reforms in the country after Bashar al-Assad took over as president in 2000.

"Now a new spring has been born in Beirut, promising changes which will have repercussions on the domestic situation in Syria," said the filmmaker.

Lawyer and human rights activist Anwar Bunni called on "Syria's political leadership to take into consideration the aspirations of the Lebanese people and revise its policies in Lebanon by renouncing the old ways.

"I hope the practical and the mistaken policies (of Syria in Lebanon) have not provoked a break between the Lebanese and Syrian peoples, and that the wounds will heal quickly," Bunni said.

He recalled that more than 200 Syrian personalities had called on Assad in an open letter last week to withdraw the army from Lebanon.

Writer and political scientist Michel Kilo said the "massive participation of the Lebanese people in political and public affairs" could signal "a turning point in the practice of Arab politics and an end to authoritarianism".

Karameh's resignation was a key step toward the achievement of opposition demands for a Syrian withdrawal, said Yassin Hajj-Saleh, a writer and journalist who has spent 16 years behind bars.

"The situation in Lebanon is complicated," he said, warning that "the injured parties and regional players still have the capacity to do harm".

The Lebanese opposition had so far acted with "prudence, moderation and maturity" and called for them to widen their campaign as much as possible on the Lebanese political scene, Saleh said.

He called for the camp which opposed Karameh's government to work to achieve their aims while "maintaining a good relationship with Syria because nobody can escape the imperatives of geography".

 

UN council votes to bring back full Western Sahara mission

UN rights chief calls Syrian crisis 'shameful realpolitik'

Air strike hits clinic in rebel-held Aleppo

South Sudan unveils unity government

Aleppo mourns paediatrician killed in air strike

US, Russia 'agree freeze' on two Syrian fronts

Libya unity government vows to end jihadist 'scourge'

Turkey demands 5 years jail for UK academic over 'terror propaganda'

UK pair accused of giving money to Brussels, Paris attacks suspect

Turkey says Bursa bomber linked to PKK

Kuwait steps up deportations of expat workers

Iranians vote in second round of parliamentary elections

Palestinians support, Israel opposes French peace initiative

Biden in surprise Iraq visit to support embattled government

MSF condemns strike on Aleppo hospital

Lifeline to millions in Syria 'may be broken' as violence intensifies

Turkish journalists get two years for publishing Charlie Hebdo cartoon

Greece making 'incredible effort' to tackle migration issue

Iraq shuts Al-Jazeera bureau for 'instigating violence and sectarianism'

Syria regime readies for major Aleppo offensive

Israel nuclear reactor defects spark secrecy dilemma

Suicide bomber targets Aden police chief

Death toll in Syria's Aleppo rises despite UN truce plea

Italy to introduce migrant fingerprinting at sea

UN envoy plans to hold another round of Syria peace talks

US proposes full restoration of Western Sahara mission

27 Yemeni soldiers dead in key offensive

Global press freedom drops to lowest level in 12 years

Constitutional amendment grants Jordan king more powers

Suicide bomber blows herself up in Turkey northwestern city

Austria adopts one of EU's toughest asylum laws

Netherlands warns no safety 'guarantees' for visitors to Turkey

Battered Aleppo residents ask: Where is Syria ceasefire?

Libya kidnappers release Serbian worker

Sinai bombing kills three Egypt policemen

UAE considers tough safety code after skyscraper fires

UNESCO says Palmyra retains 'authenticity' despite damage

Khamenei says US 'fomenting Iranophobia'

Russia applauds cooperation with US on Syria

Etihad Airways sees $103 million profit in 2015

Russia asks UN to list Syria rebel group as 'terrorist'

2 Palestinians shot dead at checkpoint

Turkey PM pledges draft constitution will guarantee secularism

Greece returns 49 migrants to Turkey

Nearly quarter of Iran's parliament seats at stake in election run-off