According to Haitham Manna, the international spokesman of the NCB, the arrests took place by the hands of the Air Force Intelligence. They are held incommunicado in the prison of the Al Mazzeh military airport near Damascus. The regime, however, denies any involvement and accuses “terrorist groups”.
This happens against the backdrop of an opposition conference scheduled for Sunday 23rd. Organised by the NCB, the conference calls for a political solution in order to stop the violence. Despite the kidnapping of important leaders the organisers nevertheless will attempt to hold the event.
The conference has fallen victim to character assassination from both sides, the regime as well as mainly foreign opposition groups. Formally they speak of their readiness for negotiations but when it comes to take concrete steps they back down. The event is a kind of test balloon which is absolutely necessary as the very first step and might serve as an ice breaker.
The arrests of central leaders of the initiative three days ahead of the event must be interpreted as a strong warning signal by the security apparatus, the driving force of the war. It makes the participation of exiled leaders and activists impossible. All the more the decision of the initiators to carry on is very brave and needs our full support.
Therefore we call upon the democratic and anti-imperialist public to express their protest in front of the Syrian representations in order to develop the necessary pressure.
Immediately release Al Khayyer, Ayash and Tahan!
Allow the peace conference to take place!
Pave the way for a democratic development by a negotiated settlement!