World attention shifted to Daesh: Syrian opposition

International community should not move focus from Assad regime amid Daesh atrocities, says Syrian coalition representative.

As the world puts Daesh in the spotlight over its crimes, the Syrian opposition leader has warned world leaders not to leave Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the shadow of the extremist group.

Mouaffaq Nyrabia, Syrian coalition’s representative to the European Union, told Anadolu Agency he was concerned the international community was shifting its attention from the Assad regime towards Daesh – the Arabic acronym for the ISIL terror group. 

“Here in Europe and in the U.S we notice some kind of shifting towards … this danger of Daesh, and people forgetting more than a little bit about the root cause of Daesh – which is the regime [of Bashar al-Assad],” he said.

While Daesh is an apparent danger, the Assad regime is the actual cause to the danger, according to Nyrabia.

Referring to the on-going Syrian civil war sparked by the Assad regime’s violent crackdown on anti-government protesters in March 2011, he said: “Hundreds of people are slaughtered, tens of thousands are in prisons, millions are displaced – who did that?

“If you want to make a solution for any problem you must go right there to the root cause of what is going on and will continue generating more of what is going on.”

“The [Assad] regime is the root of all kinds of terrors that happened to our people and maybe that is happening to our people in the region and the world,” he added.

– Refugee crisis

His comments came after Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu criticized the international community on Thursday for not showing a clear response to resolving the Syrian conflict and expressing concerns about a new influx of refugees fleeing regime attacks on Aleppo.

Speaking to reporters at the U.N. following his meeting with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in New York, Davutoglu said: “[The international community] didn’t have a clear response and reaction to war crimes committed by the regime, when the regime used chemical weapons against civilians, when the regime sent Scud missiles to urban areas including Aleppo.” 

Up to 210,000 people have been killed in the conflict, prompting a refugee crisis which has made Turkey the world’s largest refugee-hosting country with more than 1.6 million Syrian refugees.

Lebanon hosts more than 1.1 million – a third of its population – and Jordan more than 600 000, according to the UN agency for refugees (UNHCR).

Amnesty International said in its 2014-2015 report the EU had fallen short of its international standards on the reception of migrants and refugees.

– ‘Extreme thinking’

Nyrabia said: “Some European states talk sometimes about accepting dozens of people … this is very strange for us, we need that acceptance of our people.

“[EU member states] have a moral obligation towards these people and they must think much more about them.”

Nyrabia said the Syrian opposition had continuously called for a strategy against Daesh and the Assad regime.

“We want to maintain and increase pressure on Assad including further sanctions on the regime,” Nyrabia said.

Nyrabia also called on the international community to help develop moderate governments on the ground in Syria.

He said: “This is very important because this gives a basis for … a better future, and that will keep them (the Syrian people) away from any extreme type of thinking.”