The following article was published in the paper Saudi Gazette on August 19, 2013 and is based on a AFP report:
Opposition leader Ahmad Jarba said Syria is now being run
by regime allies Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah, with President Bashar
Al-Assad out of the picture, in an interview published Sunday.
Jarba also told Al-Hayat Arabic language daily newspaper that Syrian rebels
have seized control of “at least half” of the country, 29 months into an
Assad is “a killer and a criminal, and… he has collapsed,” the National
Coalition chief charged.
The opposition leader reiterated the rebels’ insistence that any settlement
must exclude Assad, demanding that he be “punished for the war crimes he has
committed against the Syrian people.”
More than 100,000 people have been killed since the conflict broke out in
mid-March 2011, the UN says.
Assad “no longer runs Syria. The real rulers of Syria are the Iranian
(elite) Revolutionary Guard… with the participation of (Lebanese Shiite)
Hezbollah fighters,” Jarba said.
Tehran is Assad’s main regional backer, while Hezbollah has sent in troops
from Lebanon to help the army fight the anti-regime rebellion. Jarba said
that supplying the rebel Free Syrian Army with sophisticated weaponry would
“change the course of the revolution,” despite Western fears that the arms
could land in the hands of extremists.