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Syrian opposition member visits Israel

Senior Syrian opposition member Kamal Al-Labwani is in Israel to take part in a conference to combat terrorism.

In the first visit by a Syrian politician to Israel, Al-Labwani arrived in a personal capacity to attend the annual International Conference on Counter-Terrorism in Herzliya. His visit has had a mixed reaction from Syrian dissidents on social networks.

Speaking on the sidelines of the conference, Al-Labwani described his 10-day visit to Israel as “academic” and “exploratory” and stated he was prepared to meet with Israeli policymakers “whenever they want”.

He said: “I’m here because the only ones who are absent from the international decision today are the Syrian people. We must hear their voice and convey their suffering. We are here to say that there are moderates who are able to be partners of the international coalition against terrorism.”

He said the US’ top priority in Syria should be to invest in local organisations and infrastructure, in order to avoid any money being funnelled to fund terrorism.

“Currently, the aid could fall into the wrong hands in the absence of good management and oversight,” Labwani said. “Real authority on the ground requires investment in organisation before the aid is even sent.”

He continued that the Syrian people should not be left between only two options, “either Bashar Al-Assad and his militia and gangs or terrorism”.

Concluding: “We must support the Syrian people, the real people, I trust them and I represent them.”

Recently Al-Labwani outlined his views and positions regarding the possibility of cooperation with Israel to topple the Assad regime, as well as the possibility of establishing a permanent peace agreement with it.

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