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Syria opposition to meet in Turkey

Filed on May 26, 2011

NICOSIA — Syrian opposition leaders are to hold a conference in Turkey next week in support of two-month-old protests against the rule of President Bashar al-Assad, one of the organisers told AFP on Tuesday.

“The Syrian opposition will organise a conference in Antalya from May 31 to June 2 in support of the revolt in Syria and claims of the Syrian people,” Ammar Qurabi, president of the Egypt-based National Organisation of Human Rights, told AFP.

The conference will be open to all supporters of the opposition, independent personalities and representatives of all faiths, he said, referring to a group of reformers who called for democratic changes in 2005 under a statement known as the Damascus Declaration.

Since the outbreak of anti-government protests in mid-March, at least 1,062 people have been killed by Syrian security forces, according to Qurabi.

“We have a list of names of 1,062 people killed, along with information about the places where they died.”

He said 10,000 people were arrested during the protests against the autocratic regime of Assad, who succeeded his father Hafez in 2000.

In April, the president lifted the state of emergency in force for decades — one of the main demands of protesters — but he also regulated the right to demonstrate.

His opponents are demanding an end to the domination of the ruling Baath party, free elections and the release of political prisoners.

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