Moaz al-Khatib was elected as president of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces in November 2012 but resigned from the post just four months later. He was imprisoned several times for raising his voice against President Bashar –al Assad’s regime before he fled to Cairo.
It was an important moment for the Syrian rebel forces when they joined the 22-member Arab League summit in Qatar on Tuesday. According to al-Khatib, “It is part of the restoration of legitimacy that the people of Syria have long been robbed of.”
The former president of the National Coalition gave a moving speech that highlighted many issues regarding the Syrian conflict including how the National Coalition did not want bloodshed and war. He said that the government pushed the matter to an extent that it turned into an armed conflict:
“We despise war and armed fighting and we started a peaceful revolution that was pushed by the regime with its recklessness and monstrous ways towards weapons, ruin, and destruction”
Khatib also mentioned in his address that he asked US Secretary of State John Kerry for help:
“I asked Kerry to extend the coverage of rockets to the north of Syria. He promised to study this request and we are still waiting for a decision from NATO to protect the innocent and save people’s lives, returning refugees to their country. Not to fight, but to protect people so they can return to their normal lives.”
The recent use of chemical weapons in the war was also pointed out:
“I say that this issue must be determined by an inclusive national conference and that it may occur in my opinion through a regional deal that would prohibit both nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction. The opposition will not sell its country, o brothers and governments of the world.”
He also highlighted one of the most important and neglected facts about the Syrian civil war; the fate of the war-stricken children and extremism:
“They also ask, ‘Who will rule Syria (after Assad)?’ Syria’s people will determine that, not any other nation in the world. The Syrian people will decide and will judge how they will govern. The children of Syria will understand each other and live together. And this statement will gather them: God said, “There is no compulsion in religion.” (Quran 2:256) But the idea of extremism, it’s a result of oppression and corruption. We have to address the root causes, and not only blame those who cannot tolerate the killing every day.”
At the end of his speech, Moaz al-Khatib thanked the countries who had donated aid including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraqi Kurdistan. His speech was received well by everyone present at the summit and everyone is appreciating the fact that al-Khatib is determined to work for the oppressed Syrian people even after his resignation.