‘Syrian president will stay in power till 2021’: Former Lebanese official

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Syria’s ongoing conflict won’t force President Bashar al-Assad to cede power but he will stay until 2021, a vocal pro-Syrian Lebanese politician told Al Arabiya Thursday.

Even after 2021, President Assad will continue his political work as a “guide” to the Syrian regime, similar to Iran after the 1979 revolution where a supreme guide can reign supreme, said Lebanese former minister Wi'am Wahab.

In 2012, Wahab called for economic unity between Syria, Lebanon and Iraq in 2012, making him appear as a supporter to the Syrian regime. Lebanon is highly divided with some factions supportive of the neighboring regime and others who vehemently oppose it.

Despite the ongoing 22-month conflict in Syria with the Free Syrian Army declaring advances against the regime inside the capital, Damascus, itself, the Syrian regime backed by Russia seems unmoved. On Wednesday, Russia said it was delivering military hardware and light weapons to Syria.

The Syrian regime has also snubbed a call by the opposition Syrian National Coalition (SNC) chief, Moaz al-Khatib, for dialogue. Instead President Assad stressed that his regime will not submit to pressure or “plots” against it when meeting a Jordanian delegation in Damascus on Monday.

Meanwhile, Turkey-based Anadolu Agency cited a high profile political figure in Cairo saying that some Arab states have accepted giving Syrian opposition seats in the Arab League and more seats will be given to them if needed.

The London-based Asharq Al-Awsat also reported on Thursday that it received documents for a suggested peaceful transition of power in Syria.

The documents propose the formation of 140-member council in which 102 are elected under U.N. aegis while 30 others are chosen from the regime, opposition and religious figures.

On Wednesday, Secretary of State John Kerry said that the United States has to change what he called Assad’s “calculation” about his situation. Kerry said the Syrian president has not yet realized that it is inevitable he will be thrown out of power.

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