Abdulbaset Sieda (370).
(photo credit: Reuters)
Syria's main opposition bloc wants Arab states to work together to effect an international intervention in Syria similar to the joint initiative in Libya, but that they oppose Iranian intervention, Syrian National Council (SNC) head Abdulbaset Sieda said in an interview published on Wednesday.
Also on Wednesday, Syrian rebels gained full control of the Tel Abyad border gate on the Turkish frontier after battling Syrian government forces overnight.
"I can confirm that the gate has fallen. It is under the complete control of the rebels," a Turkish official said on condition of anonymity.
SNC head Sieda told pan-Arab al-Hayat
newspaper, that the SNC objected to Iran's participation in efforts to resolve the Syrian crisis, saying Tehran was part of the problem.
"Iran is providing the regime with arms, money and plans, and even the commander of the Revolutionary Guards admitted that there are men from the Revolutionary Guards inside Syria."
Sieda dismissed the chances that Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy's initiative for a "contact group" to try to resolve the Syrian crisis would succeed, saying he opposed Iran's participation in the efforts.
"We believe that Iran is part of the problem," Sieda said.
Former international mediator Kofi Annan had wanted Iran to be involved in efforts to find a solution to the Syrian crisis. He resigned in August complaining about a diplomatic deadlock at the UN Security Council.
The Arab League asked the UN Security Council for a no-fly zone last year to protect civilians in Libya, paving the way for NATO and Arab allies to help rebels overthrow Muammar Gaddafi.
The West has shown little appetite for repeating any Libya-style action in Syria, and Russia and China, both veto-wielding powers on the UN Security Council, oppose such intervention.
Meanwhile, rebels tore down a Syrian flag at a border gate on the Turkish frontier on Wednesday as they fought for control of the crossing, and schools on the Turkish side shut as bullets flew into Syria's northern neighbor.
Television footage showed Syrian rebels taking down the Syrian flag on top of a government building at the Tel Abyad border gate. Sporadic gunfire could be heard and black smoke rose from parts of what appeared to be a customs building.
Turkish officials have recently confirmed the rebels, fighting to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Assad, have seized control of the whole crossing.
Rebels hold two other crossings on the northern border with Turkey. A third border point will strengthen their control in the north and put more pressure on Assad's army as the two sides battle for control of Syria's largest city Aleppo not far away.
The 18-month-old revolt, which began as peaceful street protests cracked down on by Assad's military, has escalated into a civil war in which over 27,000 people have died. Daily death tolls now approach 200 and the last month was the bloodiest yet.