Syrian rebel mourns fallen comrade in Qusair 390.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
AMMAN - The Friends of Syria alliance called on Iran and its
Lebanese Hezbollah ally on Thursday to withdraw fighters immediately from Syrian
territory and described their armed presence in the country as a threat to
In a communique issued after a meeting in Amman, the
alliance said it will "further increase" support for the opposition and "take
all other steps as necessary" until a planned peace conference backed by Russia
and the United States produces a transitional government that would assume power
over the army and executive, which are now in President Bashar Assad's
Referring to Hezbollah guerrillas fighting along the Syrian army
and pro-Assad militia in the Syrian town of Qusair near the Lebanese border, the
alliance "called for the immediate withdrawal of Hezbollah, fighters from Iran,
and other regime allied foreign fighters from Syrian territory." The meeting of
11 Western and Arab nations, as well as Turkey, which constitute the core group
of the alliance, also warned of "severe consequences" if use of chemical weapons
by Assad's forces is confirmed.
The communique said Assad's forces
"committed ethnic cleansing" this month in the city of Banias. Opposition
campaigners said forces from Assad's minority Alawite sect killed and mutilated
at least 100 Sunni men, women and children in the coastal city of Banias on May
But the alliance warned that radicalism was growing on both sides of
the two-year conflict, in which at least 80,000 people were killed.
ministers expressed their strong concern over the increasing presence and
growing radicalism on both sides of the conflict and terrorist elements in Syria
that deepens the concerns for the future of Syria," the statement said.