Syrian rebel leader open to Assad talks

Sunday 10 February 2013 22.56
Rebel leader says will hold talks with Assad on exit strategy
Rebel leader says will hold talks with Assad on exit strategy

Syrian National Coalition leader Moaz Alkhatib has said he is willing to hold talks with Bashar al-Assad's representatives in rebel-held areas in northern Syria.

The talks' objective would be to find a way for Mr Assad to leave power with the "minimum of bloodshed and destruction", Mr Alkhatib said.

"If the regime is so concerned about sovereignty and does not want to venture out of Syrian territories then there is a suitable solution, which is the liberated land in northern Syria," Mr Alkhatib said.

"There is an important question. Will the regime agree to leave with the minimum of blood and destruction?"

Mr Alkhatib, a moderate cleric in Damascus, last month offered to hold talks with Mr Assad's ceremonial deputy Farouq al-Shara about an exit for Assad if the authorities started releasing tens of thousands of political prisoners jailed since the eruption of the 22-month uprising.

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