Moaz al-Khatib, the leader of the Syrian opposition coalition, has resigned in a statement posted to his Facebook page. The former Damascus cleric, who has led the Western-backed coalition since its creation in November, said he was resigning his post to “work with freedom.” The following transcript of the statement was provided to Syria Deeply by Hassan Hassan, a columnist for The National newspaper in Abu Dhabi.
A statement to the great Syrian people:
We have been slaughtered under the watchful eyes of the world for two years, in an unprecedented manner by a vicious regime. Many have offered a hand on a purely humanitarian basis and we thank them for that. But there is a bitter reality [to] tame the Syrian people and besiege their revolution and attempt to control it.
Everything that happened to the Syrian people — from destruction of infrastructure, arrest of tens of thousands of their children and displacement of tens of thousands and other tragedies — is not enough for the world to take an international decision to allow people to defend themselves.
Those who are willing to obey [outside powers] will be supported, those who disobey will [be] offered nothing but hunger and siege. We will not beg for help from anyone.
If there is a decision to execute us as Syrians, then let’s die as we want. The gate of freedom has opened and will not be closed, not only for Syrians but for all peoples.
The regime, by its arrogance, has lost the most valuable opportunities to reach a comprehensive national reconciliation… and many outside powers, international and regional, have tried to pull the Syrian ship towards it.
Our message to everyone is that Syrians decisions will be taken by Syrians, and Syrians only.
I had promised our people, and vowed to God on that, to resign if the situation reaches certain red lines. Today, I honor my promise and I resign from the National Coalition to be able to work with freedom not available through official institutions. We understand that official posts are means to serve noble ends, not goals to be sought or for us to maintain.
I will continue to work with my colleagues, those who seek the freedom for our people. And I will reach understanding and [deliver] messages with all sides that share our pains and hopes.
A little bit of patience, our people. Isn’t the morning near?