National Press Club

Syrian opposition leaders outline plans to oust Assad

March 20, 2013 | By Peter Hickman |

Two members of the Syrian opposition to President Bashar al-Assad told a March 19 Newsmaker audience that Assad's enemies should "focus on his power and not his personality" in trying to remove him from office.

Rim Turkmani, an astrophysicist, and physician Haytham Manna said a common goal of Assad's opponents is "to take the power out of his hands and put it in the hands of the collective good."

The country's conflict must be resolved quickly, they stressed. If it's not, they predicted, the result will not be another revolution, but further strengthening of Assad's control of the country.

Turkmani and Manna agreed that both President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin should be involved in helping solve the Syrian situation.

"Obama and Putin should discuss this issue seriously," Turkmani said. Manna added, "The U.S. must be the leader."

Rhetorically, the United States is on target, according to Turkmani.

"The current language used by the U.S. matches what we are saying," he said.