Syria’s Vice President Farouq al-Sharaa spoke with a Lebanese newspaper, saying that neither side of the Syrian conflict will win the war.
Sharaa, a Sunni Muslim, works in a power structure that is dominated by Assad’s Muslim Alawite minority, reports Reuters. The vice president has rarely been seen in public since the revolt began almost two years ago.
The newspaper he spoke with, al-Akhbar, did not release the full interview on Sunday, but it will appear in full in Monday’s edition. It is also not clear if Sharaa’s comments represent the view of Assad’s government. So far, at least, the Syrian vice president is the most prominent figure in the regime to say in public that the crackdown on rebels by the government will not work.
In the first part of the war, Assad was quick to stay out of the fighting, which has claimed at least 40,000 lives since March 2011. He is now unable to keep his distance as rebel fighters have brought the conflict to the country’s capital of Damascus — though thy have yet to deliver a fatal blow to the regime.
Farouq al-Sharaa stated to the Lebanese paper that neither side in the conflict will be able to “decide the battle militarily,” according to The Washington Post. The Syrian vice president added that the solution to the conflict must come from within the country and not outside, explaining that any political settlement “must include stopping all types of violence, and the creation of a national unity government with wide powers.”
Assad’s government has long rejected any involvement from outside sources. He has also called for talks with the opposition, though most rebel groups have refused to meet with the Syrian president, choosing instead to demand that he step down before they will lay down their arms.
The interview with Sharaa comes less than a week after more than 100 nations, along with the United States, recognized the Syrian opposition council as the legitimate representative group of the country.