Opposition Leader Leaves Syria for France, Calls for U.N. Help

إقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية W460

Opposition figure Georges Sabra has left Syria for France where he told the Liberation daily that "the Syrian people deserve to be protected by the U.N."

"My party sent me here to help the SNC (Syrian National Council, the country's largest opposition group), to work as a team," the head of the Democratic People's Party told Liberation's Tuesday edition

The SNC's head, Burhan Ghalioun, is a sociology lecturer at university in Paris, where many other opponents of President Bashar Assad's regime live in exile.

Ghalioun "is perfect, but he's an academic, not a politician," said Sabra. "And he's not used to working with others. We should renew the way we take our decisions and resolve problems."

"For instance, help for opponents within Syria who have helped and for whom the SNC hasn't done enough," the 64-year-old Christian said.

"They need medicine, clothes, food. They expect a new approach from us, on the ground and outside Syria, for us to get the Russian position to change, for instance."

"Our hope lies with the U.N., perhaps by sending peacekeepers," he said.

"Given that they conduct missions throughout the world, why shouldn't they intervene in Syria, which is one of the 42 founding members of the United Nations? The Syrian people deserve to be protected by the U.N."

After spending years in prison under president Hafez Assad, Bashar's father, Sabra was arrested in July, around four months after the start of the uprising against the Damascus regime.

He has lived in hiding since being freed in September.

"It wasn't easy leaving Syria. I went through Jordan, but a half-hour before and after I went through, there was firing in the area. Moreover, the regime hasn't let me have any identity papers since 1979. Luckily, the French embassy gave me a lot of help."

The United Nations says that at least 5,400 people have been killed in the Syrian government crackdown on dissent since last March, when protests first erupted against Assad's regime.

Sabra's party is associated with the 2005 Damascus Declaration for Democratic National Change, an opposition movement calling for democratic reforms in the country.

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