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August 9, 2012

A dramatic pic from the battle of #Aleppo

Oust Assad With a Plan in Place

Rafif Jouejati

Rafif Jouejati is the English spokeswoman for the Local Coordinating Committees in Syria, a network of activists. She is also the director of FREE-Syria, a nonprofit humanitarian organization that focuses on women’s empowerment, and a member of the Day After Project, which is developing a transition plan for the country. She is on Twitter.

AUGUST 8, 2012

The situation in Syria is deteriorating at lightning speed as regional and international actors enter the fray. Some are there out of a genuine desire to help, while others are capitalizing on the chaos. Meanwhile, more than 20,000 people have been killed, more than 2 million have been internally displaced; and incalculable damage has been inflicted on infrastructure and society. Syrians must avoid civil war to ensure that those who suffered did not do so in vain.

How can they do this?

By overthrowing the Assad regime. No attempts to stabilize the country can be successful unless the originator of the armed conflict – Assad and the single-party system he represents – is deposed.

The Free Syrian Army must adhere to a code of conduct, Syrians must agree on a transitional government plan, and Assad must go.

However, the Syrian opposition – inside the country and abroad – can take specific actions now. It can accelerate the development, dissemination and acceptance of a transitional framework assuring minorities – who have been in the country for thousands of years – that they play an instrumental role in building the new Syria.

The transitional framework, already in progress and known as the Day After Project, can leverage the recent high-level diplomatic defections to “keep the lights on” post-Assad. This transitional government – created by Syrians for Syrians – must immediately address the humanitarian crisis, rebuild infrastructure, revive the tattered economy and implement a system of transitional justice.

Meanwhile, the Free Syrian Army must develop and adhere to a code of conduct based on international law and the Geneva Conventions. This is already in progress, as several Free Syrian Army battalions have begun signing a code of conduct, which will be instrumental in differentiating between the Free Syrian Army and other armed elements that are creating further chaos.

Lastly, it’s not too early to create a new constitution that will protect the rights of all Syrians and establish a framework for free and fair elections.

Avoiding a civil war in Syria is no easy task, but it can be done – with a carefully planned transitional framework, an ethical code of conduct that is implemented, and a focus on the revolution’s original goals: freedom, democracy and dignity.

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