Syria’s Assad slams Arab League

Syrian President Bashar Assad during an interview with Turkish journalists in Damascus on April 2, 2013

DAMASCUS (AFP) — Syrian President Bashar Assad has lashed out at the Arab League and its decision to hand Syria’s seat to the opposition, saying the body “lacks legitimacy,” according to comments published on Thursday.

“The Arab League lacks legitimacy. It’s a League that represents the Arab states, not the Arab people, so it can’t grant or retract legitimacy,” Assad said in extracts from an interview with Turkish media published on the presidency’s Facebook page.

The Arab League last month granted the opposition rebel Syrian National Coalition grouping Syria’s seat at the beginning during a session in Qatar attended by key rebel official and former Coalition chief Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib.

“Real legitimacy is not accorded by organisations or foreign officials or other country … legitimacy is that which is granted by the people,” Assad said.

“All these theatrics have no value in our eyes,” he added.

The interview, with Turkey’s Ulusal television and Aydinlik newspaper, was conducted on Tuesday and will be aired in full on Friday, the presidency page said.

In extracts published on Wednesday, Assad accused Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of not having said “a single word of truth since the beginning of the crisis in Syria.”

Turkey is a key backer of the Syrian revolt that broke out in March 2011.

Damascus has regularly accused Ankara of financing, training and arming rebels fighting troops loyal to Assad. The UN says Turkey currently hosts more than 260,000 Syrian refugees.

The UN says more than 70,000 people have been killed in a spiralling war that broke out after the army unleashed a crackdown on a peaceful revolt which morphed into an armed revolt.

(Source / 04.04.2013)

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