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Syrian opposition gathers in Brussels

4th June 2011, Comments0 comments


Syrian opposition groups took their campaign to Belgium on Saturday where they demanded an end to the crackdown led by President Bachar al-Assad.

Around 200 activists gathered at a Brussels hotel for a two-day conference after Turkey hosted a similar meeting earlier this week.

The aim of the conference, said organiser Bassem Hatahet, was to send al-Assad the message that "if he is really a leader, he should stop his crimes, and that if his forces continue to imprison and torture protesters, there must be a regime change."

Hatahet said several different opposition groups and representatives from Syrian society were taking part in the conference. A statement would be issued at the close of the meeting on Sunday.

Following the conference in the Mediterranean resort of Antalya on Wednesday and Thursday, opposition groups urged al-Assad's immediate resignation and the holding of parliamentary and presidential elections within a year.

Large crowds attended on Saturday the funerals of 50 people killed by security forces during anti-regime protests in Hama the previous day, human rights activists said.

More than 1,100 civilians have been killed and at least 10,000 arrested in a brutal crackdown on almost daily demonstrations in Syria since March 15, rights organisations say.


© 2011 AFP

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