For the first time since Bashar al-Assad and his family have been in power, Syrians held their first democratic polls in the Turkish city Ghazi Intab to elect representatives for the city of Aleppo.
More than 250 people attended the polls and among them was the Syrian National Coalition leader Moaz al-Khatib along with the Syrian American Council’s senior political advisor and director of strategy Mohammed Ghanem.
In a statement after the elections, the United Nations said it was prepared to broker peace talks between Syria’s regime and opposition.
"The United Nations would welcome and be prepared to facilitate a dialogue between a strong and representative delegation from the opposition and a credible and empowered delegation from the Syrian government," a joint statement by Ban Ki-moon and his top envoy for the conflict Lakhdar Brahimi said Saturday.
Khatib told the Syrian public that he was thrilled to see the Syrian people hosting free elections, after being oppressed by the regime for over 40-years.
“By carrying out these elections, we are showing the world we are capable of taking care of our own matters.” Khatib added it was time for Syrians to break free from the chains of the Assad dictatorship.
“We all know that when Syrians went out on the streets protesting, they were not armed. All what the Syrian individual wanted was to sleep without having to fear the regime.”
Over the last week intense international diplomacy missions dedicated to end the nearly two-year conflict in the country have taken place. It comes as the United Nations estimates that the death toll in Syria may have reached 70,000 people.