State of play in Syria: extracts from the press conference by - Guy VERHOFSTADT(ALDE, BE) - SALIM IDRISS, commander in chief of the free Syrian Army

Type: News   Reference: 92147   Duration: 00:05:31  Lieu: Brussels, Belgium - European Parliament
End production: 06/03/2013   First transmission: 06/03/2013
SALIM IDRISS, commander in chief of the free Syrian Army, was invited today by the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats of Europe to assist to an open meeting to talk about the situation in Syria. From the point of view of the ALDE group, this is a unique opportunity to hear directly from this Brigadier General of the rebel army, as it the first time he travels outside Turkey or Syria since the conflict began. He, together with the ALDE MEP, Guy VERHOFSTADT, offered a press conference in which they explained the state of play in the country, which has been in trouble since the first peaceful protests against the regime of Al Assad emerged in March 2011, infected by the euphoria of the Arab Spring. Now, the country is immerged in a civil war between the forces loyal to the Syrian Ba'ath Party government and those seeking to oust it, which has provoked, according to the UN Refugee Agency, over 940,000 Syrians across the Middle East and North Africa, and more than 4 million people affected within the country.

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00:00:00 Title 00:00:05
00:00:05 Exterior view of the EP, Brussels 00:00:05
00:00:10 General view of the press room 00:00:12
00:00:22 SOUNDBITE (English) Guy VERHOFSTADT (ALDE, BE) We have seen until now a lack of courage and willingness from the international community in general and from the EU specially to really deal with the crisis and the tragedy in Syria. It is more than one year and a half ago now that from the first time we mentioned the absolute need to do something to stop the tragedy in Syria. Meanwhile 70 thousand of people are dead in Syria there are 1 hundred thousand people in prison in Syria, there are more than 1 million refugees in the neighbouring countries around Syria and still the international community is not capable to do what it is necessary so that this tragedy can stop. 00:01:03
00:01:25 SOUNDBITE (****) SALIM IDRISS, commander in chief of the free Syrian Army "Of course we have asked our friends in Europe, and our friend in the US to send us guns and munitions. So far we haven't yet received weapons from other countries in Asia or else where in the Middle East. The weapons that we are using are the booty that we have managed to obtain in the course of combats with the Syrian regime or weapons that we buy in the domestic black market. Those are light weapons and some light munitions but this alone are not enough. They do not unable us to face up the Syrian war machine which are supported by Iran and Russia. 00:01:01
00:02:26 SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Salim IDRISS, commander in chief of the free Syrian Army "How to prevent this crisis spilling over neighbouring countries. Hezbollah does want this to overthrow into Lebanon. Bashar Al Assad said from the beginning that either he should remain on power or else there would be chaos; either he would stay in power else the extremists would take over. Either I remain in power or else the country will burn. So these were the slogans that they used since the beginning of the Syrian revolution and Hezbollah wants to give the whole world the impression that the exit of the Assad regime will bring chaos in the region. 00:00:46
00:03:12 SOUNDBITE (French) Guy VERHOFSTADT(ALDE, BE) We know very well that if nothing is done this conflict will go on, this revolution will go on it won't be a 70 thousand but 100 thousands dead or more. So I think it is important to hear from the general a confirmation that if there is assistance from the international community then this tragedy can be brought to a quick conclusion within Syria. 00:00:33
00:03:45 SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Salim IDRISS, commander in chief of the free Syrian Army The embargo is regrettable. when we are told that mode weapons will result in a blood shet on the Syrian soil we are not entirely in agreement we can say the embargo is unilaterally imposed on Syrian and the free Syrian army. Their regime is not complained with the embargo imposed by the Europeans. The regime is receiving Russian and Iranian weapons we therefore are suffering the effects of the embargo without any means of defending ourselves and that is resulting in more deaths so we would like this embargo to be lifted because it has been imposed on the victims. 00:01:23
00:05:08 General views of the press room 00:00:23
00:05:31 End 00:00:00
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