Russian envoy: Assad not ready to step down
Bashar al-Assad is not ready to resign and believes that he enjoys strong support in Syria, said a Russian deputy Friday, who met with the Syrian president earlier this week in Damascus. "I met with Assad and I did not feel that he is ready to step down overnight," said Alexei Pushkov, Chairman of the Committee of Foreign Affairs of the lower house of Russian Parliament (Duma), at a press conference in Moscow.
"There is a protest movement, but it is not enough to make the President feel that everything is collapsing under his feet and he is being forced to resign," said Alexei Pushkov, who visited Syria from 19 to 22 February. According to the Russian parliament member, Bashar al-Assad believes he has substantial support in Damascus. "You can feel the tension, but we do not feel that the city is on the brink of civil war. Unfortunately, there are events with victims, but the shops are open and everything is open late (... ). Daily life seems normal," said Pushkov.
Meanwhile, the international community held today a meeting with the "Friends of Syria" in Tunis, to request a "cease-fire" and humanitarian intervention. The conference is set to reaffirm international support for the Arab League road map to end the Syrian crisis. Sixty countries, except Russia and China, attended the meeting. Moreover, the former Secretary General of the United Nations and Nobel Peace prize winner Kofi Annan has been named the "Joint United Nations and Arab League envoy to the crisis in Syria." His objective is to end the violence and violations of human rights perpetrated by the forces of the regime.