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Opposition leader in Syria says Assad must go

[JURIST] Salem al-Muslet, leader of the main faction opposing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad [profiles], on Saturday said that Assad and various security officials must leave office for his faction to agree to a transitional government. The High Negotiations Committee (HNC) [official website] is the largest opponent to Assad's rule in Syria, and would, according to Muslet, only agree to retain officials who "have not taken any decision against the Syrians." He went on to state, "[t]he only person that is really not accepted in any process is Assad and a few people who are involved in killing Syrians," and accused Assad of being "not serious" about negotiations. The HNC agreed to attend peace talks beginning last Friday, after the UN approved the Syria ceasefire plan in February, which has been successful [JURIST reports] so far. These peace talks will follow the first round of negotiations that failed in early February during a Russian-backed government offensive.

The Syrian Civil War [JURIST backgrounder] has been ongoing since 2011 when opposition groups first began protesting the regime of President Assad, and the increasingly bloody nature of the conflict has put pressure on the international community to intervene. Earlier in March, Amnesty International reported [JURIST report] that Russian and Syrian armed forces are deliberately attacking hospitals and other medical facilities as part of a military strategy to clear the way to northern Aleppo. Just prior, the US House Foreign Affairs Committee passed two resolutions calling for an international tribunal in the Middle East to address [JURIST report] the alleged war crimes committed by the government of Syria and its allies, specifically Russia and Iran.

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