There is no solution to end the Syrian crisis but to arm the opposition which now controls 70% of the country, a defected Syrian top official told Al Arabiya on Thursday, pointing out that the solution to the Syrian crisis will arise from inside the country.
Riadh Hijab, the former Syrian prime minister, expected that the U.N.-Arab envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi would face the same fate of his predecessor, Kofi Annan, which is failure.
“The regime is only buying time and I’ve heard this from Bashar [al-Assad],” Hijab told Al Arabiya’s weekly show Studio Beirut.
He said that the Syrian regime maintains its power only from Russian and Iranian support. “Those two powers are keeping the regime thriving until today,” he said, adding that the regime was at its worst stage. He said that the Assad regime was collapsing morally, materially and economically.
Commenting on the ongoing fighting between the Syrian regime and the Free Syrian Army (FSA), Hijab said that the regime relied completely on its air force, while the FSA controls the ground.
In his first interview following his defection, Hijab pointed out that he wasn’t willing to assume any leadership role in the formation of a new Syrian government; but he was later convinced by a friend – who is one of al-Assad’s consultants – that his new role might bring a “spark of hope” or a “ray” of solution to the country’s complicated crises.
“When I met Bashar al-Assad for several hours, I’ve detailed him with what was happening in the street and that using the army to solve Syria’s crisis was a wrong method. I’ve also spoke to him about corruption, reform and dialogue. We have also discussed other alternative approaches for the government to stop bloodshed and he had agreed on that,” Hijab said.
Hijab expresses how he was shocked by Bashar’s speech at the parliament when he said that this was a war.
“I’ve asked Bashar not to enter my city ‘Deir Ezzor, but instead he had bombed it on the first day of the formation of the government,” Hijab said.
Hijab explained that Bashar’s brother, Maher, was the decision-maker and that his cousins Rami Makhlouf and Hafez Makhlouf were the most influential of his aides.
Regarding the attack on the crisis management cell, “it was solely done through the Free Syrian Army and my defection has nothing to do with it. I’ve been always trying to persuade Bashar not to take this crisis as a battle against his people, there is no such thing as victory against his people.”
“After the bombing, I met Bashar to convince him that the use of power is not logical and will not bring results, except destruction and more killings. I have told him that the only solution is through constructive dialogue with the opposition, but he rejected. I’ve then lost hope that the regime would change its approach, especially after a rebel commander announced that ‘around 70% of Aleppo city has fallen in the hands of the Free Syrian Army’,” Hijab said.
“I’m not trying to form a transitional council, but to unite the efforts of the opposition abroad. We are looking for establishing a new council that would include all spectrums of the opposition to represent Syria in international forums and to take international legitimacy,” he said.
Hijab said that government should be in Syria to communicate with local councils and that the new government should be formed of technocrats.
“There is no nation in history that has suffered as the Syrian nation. There is no head of state in this world who acted like Bashar. I have no doubts that Bashar could use any means after he used tons of TNT to kill his people,” he concluded.