March 29, 2013

By Ahmed Kwider

The leader of Syria’s opposition National Coalition on Friday denounced all forms of violence targeting universities and civilians in general after Syria’s information minister blamed foreign countries for “an escalation in terrorism.”

Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi told Syrian state television on Thursday that the increased attacks in Damascus are unfolding in accordance with “foreign orders” to escalate “terrorist” violence.

In the same interview, al-Zoubi blamed Qatar, Turkey and other unnamed Arab and Western intelligence agencies for “throwing all their weight behind a desperate attempt to dismember and topple the Syrian state.”

Violence is rising in the same week that Syria’s seat at the Arab League was given to what the minister mockingly called the “Doha Coalition” (a reference to the Qatari backing of the National Coalition for Revolutionary and Opposition Forces).

The instability in Damascus aims to suggest that "terrorists are attacking in the middle of the capital as if the state is unable to protect civilians,” the minister said.

Meanwhile, National Coalition leader Moaz al-Khatib denounced violence against all civilians in a statement on his facebook page on Friday. “Shelling universities, any civilian facilities or civilians is completely unacceptable,” al-Khatib said.

At least 13 students were killed in a mortar attack on a Damascus University cafeteria on Thursday. No group has claimed credit.

The minister also denounced this week’s Arab League summit decision to allow countries to send arms to Syrian rebels. It is impossible to solve [this] crisis “by providing weapons to one of the sides, igniting violence and sending in terrorists,” he said.