Syrian opposition condemns Arab rapprochement with Assad after Jordan phone call
Syria's main opposition body on Sunday condemned Arab governments for working to restore ties with Bashar Al-Assad's regime, on the same day that Jordan King Abdullah II spoke to the Syrian president on the telephone for the first time in over a decade.
"Acceptance of this regime and the restoration of ties with it amounts to tolerating an endless litany of war crimes and crimes against humanity that this regime has committed against the Syrian people for the past ten years," a statement from the Syrian National Coalition of Revolutionary and Opposition Forces (SNC) read.
"Restoring relations with the murderous Assad regime cannot be justified by any pretext, especially economic motives."
Prior to King Abdullah's conversation with Assad, Jordan fully reopened its main border crossing with Syria and signed a deal with the regime to transport natural gas through Syrian territory.
"The Assad regime has made Syria one of the poorest [countries] in the world as it [is] unable to secure bread and fuel for the population living under its control. Pinning hope on this regime beggars belief as such [a] step will only bring crises and disappointments," the statement said.
After ten years of fighting, an estimated 80 percent of the Syrian population live in poverty and the country has suffered crippling shortages of basic commodities, as well as the severe collapse in the value of its national currency.
The Assad regime has blamed Western sanctions for the collapse of the economy but observers have also blamed corruption at the top of the regime, as well as the destruction of much of the country's infrastructure in the regime's bombing campaigns.
Over 500,000 people have been killed since the Syrian conflict broke out in 2011, mostly as a result of the regime's bombardment of civilian areas. Human rights groups have documented numerous atrocities carried out by the Assad regime.
"Instead of trying to rehabilitate the Assad regime, we must work to deal with the root cause of the crisis. A genocidal regime cannot act as a source of stability as chaos and criminality are an essential element in the nature and composition of the regime, which depends on them for its survival," the statement said.
It added that for Syria to return to the Arab and international community, UN resolutions had to be implemented and "war criminals" had to be held to account.
Syria was suspended from the Arab League in 2011, when the Assad regime brutally suppressed peaceful pro-democracy protests and the Syrian conflict began.
Since then, however, several Arab states have restored relations with the Assad regime. Bahrain and the UAE have both reopened embassies in Damascus and Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri has recently met with his Syrian regime counterpart, Faisal Mikdad.