Syria's Muslim Brotherhood tells world to isolate Assad

Thu Jan 19, 2012 12:18pm GMT

By Mariam Karouny

BEIRUT (Reuters) - The leader of Syria's Muslim Brotherhood said world powers should pile diplomatic pressure on President Bashar al-Assad and he called for a no-fly zone and "safe zones" to be set up to help the Syrian leader's opponents.

Mohammad Shaqfa told Reuters that the Arab League, which has sent monitors to assess Syria's implementation of a plan to end 10 months of violence, should press the U.N. Security Council to take "deterrent measures" against Assad.

"The Syrian people are determined. Nobody will go back to their homes unless Bashar leaves. There is a determination and God willing the people will reach this goal," he said in a telephone interview late on Wednesday.

"The international community should take the right position ... They should fully isolate this regime, pull out their ambassadors and expel the regime's ambassadors."

Shaqfa said the Brotherhood, which in 1982 staged an armed uprising ultimately crushed by Assad's father, backed peaceful protests and wanted insurgents to restrict their operations to defending demonstrations against Bashar al-Assad's 11-year rule.

"In the Muslim Brotherhood we reject taking up arms. We are with the peaceful revolution. We will not slip into militarising the revolution," he said.

Asked what further action the Arab League should demand from the United Nations, Shaqfa said he wanted to see "a no-fly zone and safe zones" established, although he denied this would amount to military intervention.

There is little international inclination for any Libya-style military intervention in Syria due to its position at the crossroads of Middle East conflict, including an anti-Israel alliance with Iran. The United States, European Union, Turkey and Arab League have announced economic sanctions against Syria.   Continued...

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