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"Now the Syrian people have nothing to lose. They handled their problems by themselves. They no longer need international forces to protect them. The international community has been in a slumber, silent and late (to react) as it saw the Syrian people bleeding and their children killed for the past 20 months"
       -Mouaz al-Khatib, new leader of unified Syrian opposition
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As Russia admits that Assad is losing the war, the opposition announces that it is no longer asking for international intervention. While it is nice that 130 countries, including the USA now recognize that it is the sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people, the SNC is opposed to any international intervention at this late date.

The can finish what they started. Thank You!

I'll be updating this diary frequently in this fast moving story, so check back later for more.

In Solidarity with the Syrian People
Clay

Reuters published this report today:

Syrian opposition says no longer needs foreign forces

By Samia Nakhoul and Khaled Yacoub Oweis
MARRAKECH, Morocco | Thu Dec 13, 2012 9:06am EST

(Reuters) - The Syrian people no longer need the intervention of international forces as rebels push towards the heart of the capital of Damascus to topple President Bashar al-Assad, the new leader of Syria's opposition told Reuters.

Mouaz al-Khatib, the scion of a Damascene Muslim religious dynasty, said the opposition would consider proposals from Assad to surrender power and leave the country, but would not give any assurances until it saw a firm proposal.

Flanked by bodyguards, al-Khatib was speaking to Reuters on Wednesday night after a meeting of Western and Arab nations with the Syrian opposition in the Moroccan city of Marrakech.

"The horrific conditions which the Syrian people endured prompted them to call on the international community for military intervention at various times", al-Khatib said.

"Now the Syrian people have nothing to lose. They handled their problems by themselves. They no longer need international forces to protect them. The international community has been in a slumber, silent and late (to react) as it saw the Syrian people bleeding and their children killed for the past 20 months," the eloquent, soft-spoken opposition leader said.

On Assad, he said: "I only hope that he knows that he has no role in Syria or in the lives of the Syrian people. The best thing is that he steps down and stops drinking the blood of the Syrian people."

Al-Khatib blamed world and regional powers for the rise of radical Islam in Syria, which has long prided itself on being a tolerant mosaic of ethnic groups. He said the world's failure to stop Assad's forces from killing peaceful protesters at the beginning of Syria's revolt in March 2011 was the root cause.

"The international community is partly responsible for the emergence of some disturbing phenomena because of its negligence towards peoples and nations," said al-Khatib, who was elected as president of the Syrian National Coalition for Opposition and Revolutionary Forces last month.

"When a whole people endure killing for 20 months, then groups emerge with radical or extremist views." More...

The Guardian published this report today:
Assad losing Syria war, Russia admits for first time

Russian deputy foreign minister's comments come as Syria rebels say 21-month conflict has reached decisive tipping point
    Luke Harding in El Bab, Miriam Elder in Moscow and Peter Beaumont   
    Thursday 13 December 2012 13.56 EST   

One of Syria's key allies admitted for the first time on Thursday that the Assad regime was losing the ground war, as rebels told the Guardian they were occupying more territory and besieging government troops in many parts of the country.

Mikhail Bogdanov, the deputy foreign minister of Russia – which has given Bashar al-Assad unstinting diplomatic and military support – said the regime faced possible defeat to the rebels, adding with unusual candour: "One must look facts in the face."

Bogdanov said: "The tendency is that the regime and government of Syria is losing more and more control, as well as more and more territory. Unfortunately, the victory of the Syrian opposition cannot be ruled out."

Rebels said they believed the 21-month conflict had reached a decisive tipping point, with Assad's military machine no longer capable of rolling them back. "The situation is excellent. We are winning. Not just in Aleppo but the whole of Syria," said Abu Saaed, a fighter in the northern rebel-held town of El Bab. More...

11:00 PM PT: Foreign Policy has some important second thoughts on the conclusions to be drawn from Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov recent statements about Assad losing in Syria:

Did Russia Just Throw Assad Under the Bus?
Not really. Watch what the Kremlin does, not what it says.

BY ANDREW S. WEISS | DECEMBER 13, 2012

Western press accounts jumped on suggestions today that Russia may be backing away from the beleaguered regime of Bashar al-Assad. According to reported remarks of Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, Russia's point-person for Middle East diplomacy, "As far as the victory of the opposition is concerned, it cannot be ruled out, and, to our regret, one should face the facts. The tendency is right in that direction, the regime and the authorities are increasingly losing control over an increasing territory."

Poor Bogdanov.

For the second time, remarks attributed to him are causing a big stir. Back in August, Bogdanov was quoted by Saudi newspaper al-Watan suggesting that Assad was prepared to step down. But the Russian government vehemently denied the interview had even taken place. When Saudi journalists posted an MP3 of the alleged interview on the Web, the Russians stuck to their guns and labeled it a forgery.

...

 To understand Russia's current thinking consider the following passages from Bogdanov's appearance:

"They (the opposition) say they control 60 percent of Syrian territory, but we say: if you want to keep going, there is still 40 percent. If 60 percent [have been conquered] in two years of civil war, you will then need another year or a year and a half. If by now 40,000 people have died, the fight will get more fierce and you will lose dozens, or hundreds, or thousands of people. If you agree to that price for overthrowing a president, what can we do then? We, of course, think that this is absolutely unacceptable."

"A campaign being waged by the West with support from the Arab League to distort Russia's stance on Syria is aimed at weakening our influence in the region and at freezing Russia's future relations with the Middle East and North Africa."


So what, if anything, has actually changed? Amid a flurry of comments from the Syrian opposition and their foreign supporters that the Assad regime is finished, as yet there's been no meaningful sign that the Russians are willing to withdraw valuable political, military, and economic support for Assad. More...

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