The Syrian National Coalition president Ahmed Moaz Al-Khatib met with Arab league Secretary General Nabil El-Araby on Monday to discuss developments in Syria and regional as well as international efforts to address the crisis.
According to an Arab League press release, the meeting discussed the initiative proposed by Al-Khatib on 2 February in Munich to end the violence in Syria, among other things.
Al-Khatib had announced he was willing to sit and negotiate with representatives of the Syrian government that “did not have their hands stained by blood”. The deadline for his proposal was last Sunday, but Al-Khatib has said the invitation remains open for the time being.
Al-Khatib had expressed his disappointment with the Syrian government, who failed to react to his proposal. Despite this, the Arab League emphasised it welcomed the initiative as it falls within the framework of the Geneva Declaration.
El-Araby expressed in the statement the “readiness of the league to push efforts to find a peaceful solution to the crisis and to ensure agreements on the transitional arrangements are conducive to achieving the aspirations of the Syrian people in freedom and democratic change”.
The statement concluded with the reaffirmation of support for the Syrian National Coalition, saying it recognised the council as “the legitimate representative of the aspirations of the Syrian people”, and would thus provide material and political support with the help of all nations and entities concerned with the situation in Syria.
El-Araby also met with former Syrian Prime Minister Riad Hijab, who defected in August last year. The two discussed the current situation and reviewed the ramifications of the ongoing conflict on the region.
Hijab had barely served six weeks as prime minister before defecting from the government. He stands as the highest-ranking member of the government to defect, but was not considered a member of Syrian President Basher Al-Assad’s inner circle.
Nevertheless, Hijab is in constant talks with the Arab League and, according to a statement released which it released, gave his estimates on how much longer the government will be able to keep fighting. Although the exact details are unknown, Hijab stressed to the Arab League to do all it can to provide support for the coalition and the ongoing revolution.
Hijab also met with the Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohamed Kamel Amr and is scheduled to meet the United Nations and Arab League special envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi who is currently in Cairo, the state-owned news agency MENA reported.
The ongoing civil war in Syria has claimed the lives of over 60,000 people according to the UN in January. This figure has continued to rise unabated, and the continuing violence has repeatedly spilt over into neighbouring countries.
As a result of the growing instability in Syria, nearly 800,000 people have fled the country, according to the UN. This figure has risen drastically since last year when the UN reported refugees being around 10,000.
Jordan currently hosts the largest Syrian refugee population, at over 200,000 since the beginning of February.