Syria under pall of doubt

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Syria under pall of doubt

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Early reactions from Syrian opposition voices to a tentative calm in their country reflect the strong doubts that President al-Assad will be true to his word and refrain from more violence.

Bassam Imadi of the transitional National Council, speaking from Istanbul, hoped for the best.

Imadi said: “It is premature now to judge his intentions. But from what we have before from our experience from this regime before, we don’t think he will abide by it. He will find some tricks and manoeuvres to prove that he will not keep his promise. This is what we learned before.

“If the ceasefire is established then according to the plan, there should be some kind of dialogue. In our mind, the dialogue should be about the transition phase after Assad steps down. So this could be the second step.”

Imadi expressed his doubts further, saying he thinks the regime will use crushing force if people demonstrate openly demanding President al-Assad leave.

Syria’s UN ambassador has said that government forces are on alert to “counterattack”.

A veteran of peacekeeping missions described a “plague” of mutual suspicion on both sides.