A group of Syrian activists has released a 120-page document intended to be a blueprint for a transitional government, should President Bashar al-Assad leave office.
The document, The Day After: Supporting a Transitional Government in Syria, was made public in Berlin on Tuesday after six months of meetings involving 45 Syrians.
Most of the people who helped shape the document’s six major recommendations for democratic reform are members of the Syrian diaspora, long engaged in political dissent against the 42-year-old regime. A few who stayed in Syria and led the protests that culminated this year in a civil war sneaked out of Syria to attend the meetings or voiced their views via Skype.
Perform a weapons cleanup
“One of our key recommendations is to transition to a civilian-led government … and we are also calling for a campaign to gather the weapons used within the armed opposition in the context of the struggle for freedom … the security sector can be reformed, the civilian government reinstated, and essentially do an arms cleanup.”
Soldiers without blood on their hands
“We are calling for the armed forces to return to the concept of defending our national borders as opposed to turning their weapons on to the civilian population … We are recommending a system of justice specifically to treat war crimes and so we are calling for investigation and trials to retain some of those bureaucrats and functionaries who do not have blood on their hands … to keep up the government functioning. For those who do have blood on their hands, we recommend proceeding with trials … I believe the popular recommendation is to have those trials within Syria.”
Syrians inside the country should decide
“The Syrian people inside Syria need to decide who the transitional government is and what it looks like. They are really the ones who have been suffering the brutality of the Assad regime and they are the people who need to the ones to determine their future.”
Listen to more of Rafif Jouejati’s recommendations for a transitional government (2:32):
David Arnold coordinates the Syria Witness project at Middle East Voices and reports on Middle East and North Africa affairs for both Voice of America and MEV. The Syria Witness project publishes on-the-ground citizen reporting, giving Syrians the opportunity to offer to a global audience their first-person narratives of life on the streets of their war-torn country.