A handout image released by the Syrian opposition's Shaam News Network allegedly shows a member of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) holding a gun as he keeps guard in the restive central city of Homs on June 29, 2012. World powers are meeting on June 30, in a desperate bid to salvage international envoy Kofi Annan's peace plan for Syria to end 16 months of bloodshed and agree on a transition plan for the strife-hit country. (AFP Photo/HO/Shaam News Network)
KUALA LUMPUR: The world should pay attention to what is happening in Syria, but ultimately it is the Syrians themselves who should decide how the conflict is resolved and not foreign powers with vested interests, says former Prime Minister of Malaysia Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Dr Mahathir expressed concern over the images coming out of the conflict in Syria, and said he felt “extremely sad and depressed” because Syrians have been killing one another “in the most terrible way”.
“If the reports are to be believed the Government of Syria headed by Bashar Asaad is killing Syrians in order to remain in power,” he said.
“On TV you hear the scream of shells and then the sight and sound of explosions. It is to be assumed that the shells are being fired by Government forces and the explosion is in the places where innocent Syrians live,” he said.
Dr Mahathir said that while it seems apparent enough that the Syrian government is responsible for many of the atrocities we see, it is not always easy to figure out which side is responsible for some incidents.
However, it is apparent that the rebels are getting outside help, he said.
“What is obvious is that the rebels are well-armed. They are getting the arms from somewhere. The people who supplied or sold them arms must be keen to see Bashar overthrown,” he said.
“I think Israel and its allies would like to see Bashar overthrown,” he said. “Is it unthinkable that Israel and allies are behind the rebels? After all Israel is still occupying Golan Heights.”
Dr Mahathir asked, “If the Syrian Government must disarm, shouldn’t the rebels also disarm?”
“The United Nation should disarm both sides and have a general election conducted and supervised by neutral parties,” he said, adding:
“Let Syrians solve their problem. No outside interference from the West or the East.”
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