Syrian “National Salvation” Opposition Meeting in Istanbul: Opening Remarks and Mr Maleh (17 July 2011)

Th National Salvation meeting of the Syrian opposition in Istanbul. Opening remarks by representatives from Damascus and mr Haytham Al-Maleh in Istanbul.
مؤتمر الإنقاذ الوطني – ج1 16-07-2011

The following is a short summary of the main points made by Maleh. This is not a translation or exact. [Joshua]

Maleh begins with a quick review of Syrian history since 1978 and the efforts of human rights groups to build democracy. He enumerates those killed and imprisoned by Hafiz al-Assad. He says that some 60,000 were killed by Assad.

The central metaphor Maleh uses is that of a farm. He says that Bashar al-Assad has treated the Syrian people as workers on his farm. The people of Syria refuse to be workers on that farm. They don’t want to work for Bashar, Makhlouf or Shaliish.

He counts the number of killed, wounded, imprissioned and refugees.

He says that many people live in exile, and he hopes that someday soon they will return home with their heads held high to rebuild the country.

He says the demonstrations are like a snowball, gathering size and speed.

Bashar has followed a policy of lies and tricks. He got rid of emergency law but replaced it with others to allow the arrest of any citizen without cause or process.

What I ask from those gathered here is not to lose this opportunity. The Syrian people are heros. Don’t waste the blood that has been spilled by this fascist regime. This needs a great struggle. WE must struggle for our nation, our motherland, and our people.

The future of Syria is between your hands. None of us must claim that we carry the truth.. We each have an opinion. We are humans. Humans make mistakes. We must stick to collective decisions in order to show not only the regime but the world that the Syrian people is strong. We will overcome. We will win.


The following is an article in Syria Steps about the Peasants Union, which declares that it does not want to lose any of the privileges and hard advances that it has been granted by the Baath Party. It is a reminder that socialism has its defenders.

رافضا بناء نظام يطلق الحرية لرأس المال الجشعSyria Steps

اتحاد الفلاحين يفجر المفاجأة…لا نرضى بأي حوار يمس المكاسب التي منحها لنا حزب البعث


Comments (37)

daleandersen said:

From the Zionist/CIA/EU/Foreign Interventionist/al-Qaeda/Saudi/Salafist Press:

“…U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton praised efforts by Syrian opposition groups to organize themselves and said she hoped they could work peacefully with the government.

The top U.S. diplomat made her remarks as opposition figures gathered for the National Syrian Salvation Conference in Istanbul declared they can oust the regime of President Bashar al-Assad with the help of the international community.

‘We’re encouraged by what we see the Syrian people doing for themselves, not anything the United States or any other country is doing,’ said Clinton, who is also in the Turkish city. ‘It’s what the Syrians are doing, trying to form an opposition that can provide a pathway, hopefully in peaceful cooperation with the government’…”

Oust. I like that word…

July 16th, 2011, 1:06 pm


123_syria said:

We will support Bashar, let them come.

This is the Syria we want.

Muslim Brotherhood go to hell.

July 16th, 2011, 1:10 pm


Aboud said:

As usual, events are moving faster than the chattering classes can keep up

July 16th, 2011, 2:29 pm


N.Z. said:

I am jubilant. This is a giant step forward.

July 16th, 2011, 2:42 pm


abughassan said:

let us see the names of the leadership that comes out from this conference. Three prominent opposition figures came against forming a shadow government: Galioum,Sara and Hussain.
I support any peaceful effort to change this regime and keep unity.

July 16th, 2011, 2:48 pm


N.Z. said:

Ya Sayed Abughassan, we all support peaceful change. And united we shall remain. Damascus is a living example. I hope Aboud and all Ahl-Homs are okay. Lots of gun shoots in Homs.

July 16th, 2011, 3:12 pm


abughassan said:


July 16th, 2011, 3:29 pm


majedkhaldoon said:

Some are opposed to the public announcement of shadow goverment,this means different from what Abughassan is saying,
Also we should never forget that syria should be part of several countries around it,greater Syria,the time is right,and that resistance to imperialism is syrian desire and will continue,several syrian parties are in a patriotic way,joining the demand to major changes even several members of Baath party do,along with SSNP and Communists,a lot of Allawis will join in the future,the demonstrations are getting larger,there may be 40,000 demonstrated in Hama,but they acctually represent the majority of Hama, Dimashq demonstrations are larger, the people there are whispering winking,and wishing the best for the revolution.
Your friend today , may not be your friend tomorrow.

July 16th, 2011, 4:03 pm


Afram said:

The cliché”All is fair in love and war”And- All warfare is based on deception.Ive traced the real-life roots of Machiavelli
to a village in syria,I&the zionist pepsi cola kan pored over old maps and concluded that whose original name we discovered to be … ta da Machiavelli ALHOMSY
Arab conspiracy culture of the:Fonte delle Fate,or Source of the Fairies!!!

Amir from Tel Abib/Aviv this one for you.>>>)))))o>

July 16th, 2011, 4:22 pm


why-discuss said:

Clinton said :
‘It’s what the Syrians are doing, trying to form an opposition that can provide a pathway, hopefully in peaceful cooperation with the government’…”

What does she means? Does she encourages the overthrow of the government or hoping for ‘peaceful cooperation with the government’?

I think she is actually putting pressure on the opposition to unite, not to overthrow Bashar but to cooperate with him in the reforms.
The opposition got a tap on the shoulder ( very good, continue, unite…..) like the Hama people from Ford, that’s all.
This is a positive message to the Syrian government.
I suspect more of the local opposition will participate in the next dialog in Damascus with the government.

July 16th, 2011, 4:56 pm


why-discuss said:


I think the size of the demonstrations have no more effect. The issue has moved to the political stage and it is in the hands of the opposition leaders and the Syrian government under the guidance and supervisions of the US, Turkey and Russia.
Millions can gather, it won’t have no effect. Its effect has waned because of its repetitiveness and because of the violence used by certain members of the opposition that even Ambassador Ford has recognized in Homs.
Watch the next National dialog participants in Damascus instead. That is what will decide of the future of the country, not Hama or Homs or even Damascus. This has become lingering background noise, nothing else.

July 16th, 2011, 5:16 pm


Syria no kandahar said:

On BBC Arabic they are saying that the meeting in Istanbul انفكش and the Kurds got upset for being
Neglected.I gues they were expected instead of حماة الديار to hear something like:بلاد الكرد اوطاني من ديريك لإيران
Welcome to reality world mr Maleh,I gues nobody listen to your jihad lecture,or we will be dealing with different jihads:Kurdish jihad,Sunni jihad…Alawi and Christians don’t believe in jihad,they will be material for jihadist to achieve their goals.

July 16th, 2011, 5:20 pm


Abughassan said:

The names of the leadership council must be made public so people can do their research and decide how to respond. If those people fear for their lives they can stay in Turkey or France,etc. I am afraid that there is wheeling and dealing that is taking place now in an effort to attract some skeptics only to dump them later after the damage is done. Everything those opposition leaders agree on need to be made available to all Syrians,I am particularly concerned about the inclusion of the MB in any future council without the consent of the majority of Syrians who,in my opinion, still want a secular leadership which can and must include conservative Muslims who agree to keeping their religious beliefs out of politics.

July 16th, 2011, 6:28 pm


why-discuss said:


The return of Islam after a decades of secularism

On the Rise in Tajikistan, Islam Worries an Authoritarian Government

DUSHANBE, Tajikistan — Islam is blossoming in Tajikistan. Beards are in style. Headscarves, too. Bazaars are doing a booming trade in prayer rugs, religious audio recordings and gaudy clocks featuring Muslim holy sites
After decades of enforced secularism, the people of this impoverished former Soviet republic have been flocking to their traditional religion with all the zeal of born-again movements anywhere in the world.

The authoritarian government here could not be more worried. Spooked by the specter of Islamic radicalism and the challenges posed by increasingly influential religious leaders, the Tajik authorities have been working fervently to curb religious expression.

Bearded men have been detained at random, and women barred from religious services. This year, the government demanded that students studying religion at universities in places like Egypt, Syria and Iran return home. The police have shuttered private mosques and Islamic Web sites, and government censors now monitor Friday sermons, stepping in when muftis stray from the government line.

July 16th, 2011, 6:42 pm


why-discuss said:

Clinton in Istanbul Praises Syrian Opposition

…A leader of Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood movement, Ali Sadr- al-Din al-Bayanuni, said the opposition could overthrow Assad’s regime. “What is required of the international community and Arab countries is to withdraw support from this regime, which has lost its legitimacy, and to boycott it on both the international and diplomatic levels,” he said today on Al Jazeera television.

The Syrian government “has become a criminal against its own people,” said al-Bayayuni, according to a transcript published by the BBC Mideast service.

July 16th, 2011, 6:51 pm


Syria no kandahar said:

Don’t worry about SC pony tail,keep going الكلاب تنبح والقافله تمضي.don’t even read pony tail comments,they are a waste of time,if Joshua wants to keep this place clean he should really get rid of him.
PS:SC pony tail has PHD in English bad language,he was born in Homs and stopped growing after the oral phase.

July 16th, 2011, 7:05 pm


Tara said:


It seems that there is a direct link between authoratarian governments and islamization of a nation as the oppression probably force people to cling into becoming more religious, perhaps in a self- defense mechanism. Democracy is perhaps the cure for radical Islam.

July 16th, 2011, 7:12 pm


Abughassan said:

Dictatorship is the mother of all evil but it got married to corruption and produced dysfunctional kids. Political Islam is one of them.
(I am trying to use snk way of thinking here 🙂 )

July 16th, 2011, 7:19 pm


aliccie said:

I’ve watched BBC news and Aljazeera eng but nobody gave translations or details about these conferences !

July 16th, 2011, 8:45 pm


Revlon said:

the government is not Synonymoys with “the regime”or Jr.
Tha latter have become illegitimate.
Cooperation with existing government is needed as a peaceful transitional step in order for the people to establish a genuine democracy.

July 16th, 2011, 8:59 pm


Revlon said:

Brutality and trails of blood.
A hodge posdge of Jr gangsters beating and killing demonstrators
Barzeh, Damascus, Friday

دمشق برزة جمعة اسرى الحرية 15 07 2011 دقة عالية

July 16th, 2011, 9:14 pm


Revlon said:

في ختام مؤتمر الإنقاذ بإسطنبول
تشكيل هيئة لإدارة الانتقال بسوريا

المؤتمر انتهى إلى تشكيل الهيئة التي ستضم في الجملة 75 عضوا يمثلون الداخل والخارج لإدارة المرحلة الانتقالية, مشيرا إلى أن قائمة المعارض البارز هيثم المالح (رئيس المؤتمر) هي التي فازت بمعظم أصوات المشاركين عقب الاقتراع.

للتوصيات التي خرج بها مؤتمر إسطنبول, ومن ذلك العمل على تشكيل حكومة وحدة وطنية للمرحلة الانتقالية, وتصعيد العمل السلمي داخل سوريا, بما في ذلك العصيان المدني الذي دعا إليه مشاركون في المؤتمر.

وتابع أن المؤتمر سيظل في حالة انعقاد حتى استكمال تعيين أعضاء الداخل في هيئة الإنقاذ الوطني.

, وأكد أن تشكيل مجلس انتقالي أو حكومة سيكون داخل سوريا. وأضاف أن الهيئة التي أعلن عنها ستنسق مع كل أطياف المعارضة للخروج بمجلس (انتقالي) ينتخب داخل

وشدد المالح على ضرورة رحيل نظام الأسد لأنه فقد كل شرعية، حسب تعبيره, وشدد على رغبة المعارضة في بناء دولة ديمقراطية

July 16th, 2011, 9:26 pm


Norman said:


Only Bashar Assad trusted by most Syrians to lead in the transitional period, He is the president and the problem that the opposition has is not only with Bashar Assad but with secular nature of the regime that they think they can destroy by violent meas, That will not happen, They have to talk to the president and his government and reach agreements on free election, multiparty system , the presidential election in 2014 ,

I wonder if closing the church’s door in the face of the American Ambassador ,Ford, in Qassaa is what changed the tone of Fm Clinton, It is time somebody stood up to the American administration and it came from a minster of a church, GOD Bless him,

July 16th, 2011, 9:48 pm


Tara said:

Revlon@ 21

Savage beating like this and the beating that occurred in Hama of one protestor to clinical brain death inflames me much more than mere killing. This regime is just digging its own grave with continuous brutality. I expect Damascus demonstrations to grow more and more. It’s time for them to wake up.

July 16th, 2011, 9:49 pm


syau said:

Clinton has severely lost the plot…

“Clinton Announces al-Qeada as Legitimate Government of Lybia”

On the same topic –

Yay for so called democratic countries. They seem to see it fit to declare terrorist organisations legitimate. What next.

July 16th, 2011, 10:32 pm


Andr/ Beaulieu said:

SOS SYRIA** JULY*16*2011** In the hearts of millions of younger Syrians is burnig a sincere desire to be able at last to live in PEACE, in the hands of older Syrians is standing the power to give suffering families the means to go ahead with their nomal every day duties, in the heads of all Syrians yet has to burn the sincere desire to unite for a better a fabulous future so that everybody feel secure and confident that these hours of turmoil have passed and those responsable for this great pain are JUDGED and the population COMPENSATED for their losts. The WHOLE WORLD has seen, feel, admire the GREAT BRAVERY AND GREAT PAIN of the Syrian citizens and the WORLD REACHED out. Now this meeting is on the frontpage, the just result of the recent events importance for HISTORY… A lot remains to be said, told, writen, forgiven but not so soon forgoten. We wish all citizens of NEW SYRIA can be always treated with COMPASSION and RESPECT because they earned it and they deserve to seal this NEW CONTRACT with DEMOCRACY with FAITH in themselves. Très cordialement vôtre, André Beaulieu,auteur CANADA

July 16th, 2011, 11:07 pm


louai said:

SYAU @116
Thank you for the post , it’s a good collection of video shows what the e-revolution try to hide ,its an ugly face of Syria that us who live outside the country are blessed to see it only on youtube , our families are witnessing it live ,with fear and tears .

N.Z @119
‘In other words, to simplify, if the MB”s were so good in Egypt, and deserve a speech directly for his excellency, why are the MB”S less deserving in Syria?’

Because the Egyptian revaluation was a revolution first second it was not lead by the MBs they only hijacked it later

NZ@ 122 , ok I thought the same about it at first ,ehy the camera man don’t call the police ,then I thought well he could have done and kept filming ,the camera man can not stop armed thugs so he did what best , filming it and reporting it

Tara @153
‘I am so intrigued when you call Ford visit foreign intervention and you leave Iran intelligence and military support without a title? Shock therapy anyone?’

There is no proof for that so far, can provide us with some?

July 16th, 2011, 11:39 pm


louai said:

Aboud @ 90

“What more can the regime do that they haven’t already tried?”

A lot actually like going ahead with the reforms even if the opposition do not care about reform , the regime acknowledged the opposition existence acknowledged their demands and working to to reform its self and the country ,if all that failed the regime can (if as accused all what it cares about to remain in power) make peace with Israel stop supporting Hizbullah and brake links with Iran , if he did that the KSA will send him some forces (al jazeera shield)and they will slaughter the protestors whilst the American are cheering and cheering and dancing over the dead bodies , Qaradawi and Aroor will issue fatwa to forbid demonstrations and th regime can live happily ever after .

July 17th, 2011, 1:02 am


MGB said:

I’d like to qualify Mr Maleh’s description of Syria just a tiny bit, but I’ll leave that to the end.

From a tactical point of view, is the following a logical course of action to achieve your ends?

1- If you were running an “Either Us or Chaos” campaign, wouldn’t it be to your advantage to show what chaos looks and feels like by creating some, maybe even quite a bit of mayhem? Well, yes of course you would!

2- If you were running a campaign that insisted on the presence of “armed insurgents” to justify a heavy-handed response such as sending in the army with tanks and heavy weaponry as well as a merciless secret police clamp down, wouldn’t you make damn sure that there were armed insurgents doing some real shooting? Another yes!

And if you were a regime that killed and tortured and imprisoned tens (hundreds?) of thousands over a 40+ year period just to stay in power, wouldn’t you be willing to sacrifice a few “expendables” of your own personnel to prove that those “armed infiltrators” are shooting and killing people on your side, while also shooting and killing many opposing demonstrators to sow fear among them and make them think twice before going out to demonstrate against you again? (one of the recent comments I read on SC : “peaceful demonstrators should stay at home”!)

On the other hand, if you’re the group wanting to achieve change without destroying the country, would you allow any of your people to take up arms and start shooting at the other side thereby giving them the excuse they need to send in their armed goons to prevent you from demonstrating? How would establishing ridiculous little “Islamic emirates” achieve your desired outcome of peaceful total regime change? No way!

3-If you were running a campaign that predicted sectarian war in the event of your ouster, wouldn’t you make sure that sectarian tensions were increased by distributing weapons to your preferred sectarian groups while at the same time sending unidentifiable masked gangs into their neighborhoods to shout slogans such as “we will come to slaughter/deport you and rape your women, etc. etc.” and even do a bit of damage here and there as a demo prelude to scare the daylights out of them? Well, hell ya!

Furthermore, wouldn’t you send those very same gangs to do serious harm and damage to your opponents’ demonstrations hoping to get them worked up into a frenzied mob that will go out and create the sectarian war you are after so you can put it down by brute force? (that video of Indonesian extremists committing their evil acts of violence is an example of such communal/sectarian mob violence that the unarmed policeman was happy to watch but could/would not intervene to stop since it served the police and security forces’ ends: “must have more police and more draconian powers to combat communal violence!”).

4-If your mantra to the outside world was “stability” would you not show the opposition as fragmented, aimless, unable to agree on anything and totally lacking in any leadership qualities and do your damnedest to ensure that no consolidation or unity ever occurred amongst them? (cf. many comments here!) Wouldn’t you also send out eloquent, mild-mannered cyber agents to spread the view that radical/quick change was bad and that gradual piecemeal introduction of reforms with eventual elections and democracy on the horizon for sometime later was the answer, giving you time to round on your opposition? (again, many posts here!)

These unofficial “agents of gradual change” would also urge the opposition on the ground (the ones doing the demonstrating and causing you all the headaches) to identify their leaders and ask them to join in the myriad of talk fests you keep suggesting while your security operations are in full swing? Wouldn’t this allow you, when the crunch came, to conduct sweeping arrests/assassinations of those young leaders, thereby dealing a fatal blow to the movement that really counts, the one on the ground?

Yes, yo certaily would, by all means!

5-Finally, and most important point of all is this: you’ve got a heck of a scam in place (here is a succinct description I found on Ali Ferzat’s site, credit to a guest poster :
اكثر من ثلث ميزانية الدولة تصرف عليهم غير المكرمات التى تنهال عليهم. يسكنون القصور ويتملكون افضل الاراضي والسيارات، غير القروض والخصومات والمخصصات والامتيازات. مجندينا فى الجيش يعملون في بيوتهم خدم ومراسلين اذا لم يدفعوا المقسوم، غير الذى ندفعة عندما يعتقلونا كفدية او الاهل يدفعوه من اجل الزيارة، وندفع عند الحصول على الوظيفة من اجل موافقتهم الامنية، وندفع لاجل اى تصريح يتطلب الموافقة الامنية مثل السفر او استخراج رخصة، ويشاركونا فى مشاريعنا ورزقنا رضينا ام ابينا),

so you don’t want a bunch of riff-raff shouting about freedom and democracy to upset it all for you, do you? No frickin way!

But hey, it’s not only the easy $$$$, folks, or the luxurious lifestyle that goes with it.
You also have the power to lord it over the whole population, to shake them down whenever you feel like it, to humiliate, imprison, torture and kill them with impunity. Would you let that power slip out of your hands so easily? Not a chance!

When threatened with losing it all, would you not go to any length, however evil, to stay in power? If all has failed, and with the threat of legal prosecution by the victors hanging over your head, wouldn’t you make sure that TOTAL CHAOS (civil war) was the outcome? Après moi, le déluge.

Folks, I’m telling you, the gang that rules my beloved country has no conscience and no shame, for they will burn it to the ground if they can’t keep it as their eternal cash cow and its people as their captive servants.

Now to my tiny modification of Mr Maleh’s statement: it’s not just a farm, it is a hard labor prison farm ya sayyed Haitham, ol’ southern style, the only thing missing are the actual iron chains around the ankles. but they didn’t need those ’cause they had the people totally cowed, until March 15, that is. Not anymore!

So I ask you: can you still trust anything this criminal regime says?

July 17th, 2011, 1:26 am


louai said:

Imagine you are a sectarian sick opposition who don’t give a monkey about the corruption but its only problem is the religion of the resident and you have no chance on earth to attract large number of protesters enough to create real pressure on the regime would you use violence to make maximum noise? yes
Would accuse this violence on the regime? answer is yes
Would you provoke the police to shoot at unarmed protestors by shooting at the police? Off course!
If your only weapon is religion would you use it? Answer is yes
And when you use religion to achieve your ‘noble goal’ would you attract the wrong people and the same people will eat you alive after the revolution? Answer is no because you as sectarian as they are so you will be safe , you would the country destroyed? Answer is yes ,but you wouldn’t care would you?

July 17th, 2011, 2:02 am


MGB said:

Dear Louai,

The sectarian threat is way overblown. Some Syrians are religious (30%) but if asked whether they wanted a theocracy, the clear answer will be a resounding NOOOOO!

3r3our and his long beards and fatwas can get stuffed, as far as I am concerned, and the only thing the Syrian people will accept after 50 years of repression is a secular democracy. One person one vote, with a clear division between state and religion. If you want Shariaa law go live in Saudi. Me, I won’t even set foot in the place (they don’t take too kindly to a mulhed).

July 17th, 2011, 2:47 am


NK said:

Dear Norman

care to share with the rest of us where you got your data that Bashar is trusted by most Syrians ? lol he’s not even accepted by “most Syrians” on this blog, let alone Syria.

July 17th, 2011, 2:54 am


puntroad said:

The ‘exiled’ opposition has met in Istanbul (which apparently includes conservative Islamist groups). They have called for continued civil disobedience in the country to force the toppling of the government. Never mind the impact such disobedience has on the lives of the non-protesting majority in Syria, people trying to go about their normal lives, work, family, homes etc. How irresponsible. Such a position cannot be justified. If the Syrian opposition really wanted peaceful transition, they would engage in the dialogue now taking place internally and bring the government to account that way, especially now that are not fearful of expressing dissent.

So the oppostion topples the Baath government, what next? The Syrian opposition is too broad and diverse, and ranges from legitmate groups to not so legitimate non-secular groups. It has no plan. The call for civil disobedience is a serious one, and tells us a lot about the nature of the opposition. Hate for the government in power is not grounds to topple the government and leave a power vacuum behind. Ordinary Syrians with established livelihoods in Syria deserve more than chaos and a resulting power vacuum.

How naive one must be to think that groups like the Brotherhood have abosultely nothing to do with the current situation within Syria, and will not seize on an opportunity to become more powerful in the country if stability is lost. Do not forget that many of the protests are starting outside mosques.

July 17th, 2011, 6:11 am


puntroad said:


You have referred to the American ambassador being refused entry to a church in Damascus – I have heard a little about this story, but can’t seem to find any article about it – is there an article about it?


July 17th, 2011, 6:15 am


Revlon said:

This family’s house was searched in the middle of the night by Jr’s thugs.
unable to find the man of the house or his wherabouts they vented their anger by shooting this boy in his legs.
Kifr Nibl, Idleb

May God exicse justice from the perpetrators and those who gave them orders

إدلب – كفرنبل – من ممارسات الأمن السوري 16-7

July 17th, 2011, 7:18 am


Revlon said:

Actor Fares AlHilou attended the wake of the martyrs of Qaboon!
He was warmely greeted and joined in chanting revolution slogans Allahu Akbar! Hurrieh!

July 17th, 2011, 7:25 am


louai said:

Dear MGB

the treat in my opening is not from religious people my fear is from 1- islamists
2-ignorant sectarian people taking power (I know they are the product of oppression but they do exist in large number )
3- civil war
4-thrust for revenge that very obvious

you see if this revolution was calling for democracy they want work very hard to topple the regime ,they will lead a revolution that aim to a fair democratic elections and change the constitution , but they want to topple the regime for the above reasons.

July 17th, 2011, 11:35 am


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