Middle East

Syrian activists welcome Western calls for Assad to go

Syrian analysts and activists have welcomed the call from the international community for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad step down.

But opinion is divided on how much effect it will have on the ground, coming months into the crackdown on pro-democracy protests that has left 2,000 people dead.

Louai al-Hussein, Writer and analyst

It was expected a while ago and it was certain two days ago that [US President Barack Obama] will come out with it. The US delayed it, according to Turkish requests to give a chance to Syrian authorities to stop the military crackdown.

I think this announcement has a positive and negative effect on the political conflict in the country. On the one hand, it may lift the spirit of the street that is demonstrating, but at the same time, the regime will use it to attract more supporters using the allegation that it is a foreign conspiracy.

Riad Seif, Opposition leader

Obama and Europe's call on Assad to step down came after all the massacres and the use of the army to kill people. It is a delayed call. It should have happened a long time ago, when the army entered Deraa. The regime should have been called illegitimate then.

Now there will be a speed-up in events and developments and the sense of victory will be deepened and the end of the regime will be soon.

Protest co-ordinator in Hama

It is a belated announcement. It came after more than four months of the regime using violence against the Syrian people. But every country has its policies and interests with other countries and we respect that.

We thank the United States for its stance and we hope that this step will help to end the violence against the Syrian people. We call on all countries around the world to consider Assad illegitimate and call on him to step down.

Journalist and protest co-ordinator, Damascus

I am very happy. I feel this is the beginning of the end in real terms. Also I feel that the international community has decided that it is the end of Bashar's time in serious terms.

We are calling tomorrow 'Omens of Victory' and this statement came to endorse it. It is a very important statement and will have real effect on the street. The number of demonstrators will double tomorrow to celebrate this announcement.