Syrian Minister Ready to Discuss Assad Resignation
Syrian minister, Qadri Jamil, admitted to be open to the prospect of Bashar al-Assad stepping down as part of a negotiated settlement to end the 17 months of conflict in the counrty. “As far as his resignation goes — making the resignation itself a condition for holding dialogue means that you will never be able to reach this dialogue. But any problems can be discussed during negotiations. We are even ready to discuss this issue,” the minister said.
However, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, warned the west against any unilateral action in Syria after President Obama threatened “enourmous consequences” if Assad were to use any of his chemical or biological weapons. According to Reuters, Lavrov claimed Russia is committed to “the need to strictly adhere to the norms of international law…and not to allow their violation.” For President Obama’s part, he used his strogest language to date to warn the Syrian regime against the use of such weapons. “We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is (if) we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized,” he said. “That would change my calculus.”
Meanwhile, four people were killed and 60 wounded in Lebanon’s northern city of Tripoli due to heightened tensions as a result of the conflict in Syria. Sunni-Alawite hostilities have been amplified in the region, which is home to one of Lebanon’s most sectarian divided regions.