Top opponents and rebels pitted against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad vowed on Friday to continue the fight until there is freedom and democracy in Syria.
In a statement published as Syria’s conflict entered its third year, the main opposition National Coalition said “our sole choice is to uphold the truth that ignited us, to have patience and continue the struggle of those who sacrificed their lives for our vision.”
Recognised by dozens of states and organisations as a legitimate representative of the Syrian people, the coalition added: “The large challenges still before us only increase our determination to overthrow the Assad regime and establish the new Syria.”
Syria’s rebel chief, meanwhile, vowed insurgents will fight the regime until it falls.
“We will not stop fighting until our dream of a democratic country comes true, by bringing about the fall of this criminal regime,” said Selim Idriss, who heads the mainstream Free Syrian Army, according to a video statement posted online.
“We are sure the regime will fall. We are doing our best to make the battle as short as possible, and to reduce the number of victims and destruction,” he added.
A day after France said it and Britain were ready to arm the rebels even without the consent of fellow EU members, Idriss renewed calls on the international community to back the insurgency.
“We call on the free world to support us with weapons, ammunition and humanitarian and medical aid, in order to stop the killing, and in order to build a free, democratic country for all Syrians,” he said.
Key opponent George Sabra also hailed the two-year revolt.
“The revolutionaries and our Free Syrian Army are advancing steadily towards the hour of victory, which is no longer far away,” the opposition Syrian National Council chief said in a video statement obtained by AFP.
“There is no safe place any more for oppression in Syria.”
Their statements came ahead of a conference planned for March 18 and 19 in Istanbul at which the opposition is due to elect a prime minister for rebel-held territories in Syria.
The planned meeting comes after two previous attempts to stage such a conference were postponed.