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Syrian Opposition Group assaulted in Cairo
Syrian Opposition Group assaulted in Cairo

Syrian Opposition group were pelt with eggs in Cairo, sign of divisions within movement

(DP-News - agencies)

CAIRO- Angry Syrian protesters pelted a group of opposition leaders with eggs outside Arab League headquarters in Cairo on Wednesday, preventing them from entering the building for talks with the organization's chief about the violence in Syria.

Several dozen protesters have blocked a high-profile group of veteran Syrian dissidents, including writer Michel Kilo and militant Haytham Manaa, from entering Arab League headquarters and hurled eggs at them.

The protesters in Cairo _ apparently concerned the group of opposition leaders would agree to a dialogue with the Syrian government _ threw eggs at a four-man delegation of the Syrian National Coordination Committee, headed by Hassan Abdul-Azim, as they tried to enter the Arab League's headquarters in downtown Cairo.

Members of the delegation, who were pushed and shoved by about 100 protesters, were forced to turn back. "No to dialogue with the regime," shouted one protester who gave only his first name, Amjad according to AP report on Wednesday.

 

AFP added “But Muamen Kuifatih, an opponent of the Syrian regime who is based in Cairo, said the blockade and eggs were justified because the visitors were "traitors bought by the regime". The two sides both oppose the regime of President Bashar al-Assad but have differing viewpoints.”

Kuifatih accused the members of the delegation of not backing the Syrian National Council (SNC) demands for Syria's exclusion from the pan-Arab body and of imposing a no-fly zone over the country.

None of the delegation members belong to the SNC, which groups most of the various currents opposed to President al-Assad`s regime.

 

Arab league officials said the delegation left to get a change of clothes and would return in a few hours time, but an official said later that a member of the delegation was meeting with Arab League Secretary General Nabil Elaraby.

 

The Syria-based National Coordination Committee is a rival to the broad-based Syrian National Council group that was announced in Turkey in October and rejects all forms of contact with the regime under the current crackdown.

Some Syrians see the NCC, which includes veteran activists and former political prisoners, as more lenient and willing to engage in a dialogue with the Syrian leadership. The NCC's stance has prompted some anti-government protesters in Syria to carry banners reading: "The National Coordination Committee does not represent me."

Members of the NCC reject the accusations, and the group's chief is adamant there will be no dialogue during the crackdown, but there have been reports of infighting and differing opinions within the group itself.

Hussein al-Odat, a Damascus-based member of the NCC, said talks with members of Assad's regime were out of the question until Syria implements the first part of an Arab League plan agreed to last week by putting an end to the violence and the security crackdown.

"After that, we will enter negotiations over changing the regime from its current form to a democratic, pluralistic one and negotiate on the terms of a transitional period," he told The Associated Press.

He said the delegation was in Egypt in response to an invitation by Elaraby, who wanted to hear the group's views.

Activist Michel Kilo, 71, is one of the best known human right activists in Syria. He lives in Syria and has been jailed for several years.

Kilo, a writer who has opposed the ruling Baath party since it came to power in 1963, was jailed from 1980 to 1983 and from 2006 to 2009.

He is a member of the National Committee for Democratic Change (NCDC), which was formed on September 17 and groups Arab nationalists, socialists, Marxists, members of the Kurdish minority and independents such as Kilo.

Activist Haytham Manaa is a former political detainee and now lives in self-exile in France.

One person from the delegation was finally allowed to enter the League building, an AFP correspondent said.

 

Syria agreed to a peace plan brokered by the Arab League last week, but officials say Damascus has since failed to abide by its commitments under the plan, including to pull tanks and other armor out of cities and stop the bloodshed that the U.N. estimates has left at least 3,500 people dead.

The Arab League is expected to hold a ministerial meeting on Syria on November 11 and 12.

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