Last updated: 21 December, 2013

Syria regime-tolerated opponent detained

Syrian security forces detained another member of the regime-tolerated opposition on Saturday, his party said, accusing the authorities of trying to “terrorise” the group into silence.

“This morning (Saturday), Monzer Khaddam, a member of the National Coordination Body’s executive bureau and head of its media office, was detained at a military security checkpoint while he was on a bus… en route to a meeting of the executive bureau,” the National Coordination Body for Democratic Change (NCBDC) said.

It said Khaddam had been on his way from Latakia on the coast in northwest Syria to Damascus for the meeting, and that his colleagues lost contact with him after the checkpoint.

Several other members of the regime-tolerated opposition have been arrested in recent weeks, including the NCBDC’s secretary general Raja Nasser, who was detained last month.

The group condemned the latest arrest as part of a campaign “targeting leaders and members of the National Coordination Body, which calls for a political solution” for Syria’s war.

The NCBDC also said Khaddam’s arrest “proves… there is a security plan targeting the (group’s) activists and its symbols, which is aimed at terrorising them and stopping them from working inside Syria.”

The arrest comes a day after international peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi spotlighted in a Geneva meeting the ongoing detention of Khaddam’s colleague Nasser, who had been slated as a likely delegate for next month’s peace talks in Switzerland.