Middle East News
Prominent Syrian poet Adunis calls on Assad to step down
Aug 6, 2011, 11:51 GMT
Cairo - Celebrated Syrian poet Adunis Saturday called on President Bashar al-Assad to step down, as the death toll from weeks of protests went above 1,650.
'President al-Assad has to do something. The least thing he can do is to quit his post,' Adunis told the Kuwaiti newspaper Al Rai in an interview published Saturday.
'If I were in his place, I would leave power,' the 81-year-old writer said. 'There are radicals inside his regime who want everything or nothing. They are doomed.'
Adunis, one of the Arab world's well-respected intellectuals, described the Syrian opposition as disunited.
'This opposition has failed to agree among itself on basic issues such as the separation of state and religion,' he added in the interview conducted in Beirut.
'The opposition has taken no notice that Syria suffers from massive racism. For example, why does a Kurd or an Assyrian have no right to become a president in Syria?'
Syria is a predominantly Muslim country with ethnic minorities including Kurds, Assyrians, Armenians and Circassians.
Al-Assad, who succeeded his father Hafez al-Assad in 2000, is facing unprecedented protests in which more than 1,650 people have been killed by security and army troops since the demonstrations started in mid-March, according to local human rights groups.