AMMAN — King Abdullah has warned of a spillover of the Syrian turmoil into the countries it neighbors, saying the risk is “looming closer.”
“I am extremely worried about the risk of a fragmentation of Syria. Over the past few months we have witnessed an increase in sectarian violence,” the king said in an exclusive interview with AFP.
“This not only endangers the unity of Syria, but it could also be a prelude to a spillover of the conflict, into neighboring countries with similar sectarian composition. We have already seen signals that this risk is looming closer.”
UN investigators have said that growing numbers of victims of the conflict in Syria are being targeted because of their religion, while gross violations of human rights are occurring on a regular basis. More than 27,000 people have been killed since the revolt against President Bashar Al-Assad broke out in March 2011, according to rights monitors’ figures.
The king called for “a formula for a political transition where all components of Syrian society, including the Alawites, feel that they have a stake in the country’s future.”
“An inclusive transition process is the only way to stop the escalation in sectarian violence,” he said.
“It is in the best interest of the Syrian people, as it would preserve the territorial integrity and unity of Syria, and it is in the best interest of regional stability and the international community.”
Jordan currently hosts more than 200,000 Syrians who have fled the bloodletting.
“I have been saying all along that the issue is not the individual, but the system. If President Bashar were to leave tomorrow, but the system stayed, then what would the Syrian people have achieved?” the king said.
The king said that not all Syrians who came to Jordan were seeking safe haven.
“We have discovered that a few came here, not to seek safe haven, but to carry out other missions — intelligence gathering on refugees, or schemes to target Jordan’s stability and security,” he added.
“Let me simply say, the way Syria deals with its neighbors is one of the potential escalations that we are watching closely.” — AFP