Syrian opposition activists announced they have drafted a political roadmap for the country’s development in the event of the ouster of President Assad. The project, initiated by US and German think tanks, is currently being presented in Berlin.
Developed by the US Institute of Peace and German Institute for International and Security Affairs as early as in January, the group put together a document titled, "The Day After Project: Supporting a Democratic Transition in Syria."
The authors reportedly include members of the Syrian National Council, the Muslim Brotherhood and other opposition groups, members of the Free Syrian Army and youth activists – some 50 people in total.
While no single leader has emerged to unify Syria’s opposition since internal conflict began in the country in March 2011, the group claimed their 120-page project lays out the development of a new national identity based on civic unity, citing South Africa's post-apartheid transition as an example.
The document, the first of its kind from the Syrian opposition, also offers recommendations for writing a new constitution and calls for a special independent tribunal to try former members of the regime for crimes committed against the Syrian people, AFP reported.
"We view this document as our collective contribution to an ongoing debate among Syrians – both inside and outside the country – about the most effective ways to manage the challenges that are sure to arise following the end of the Assad regime (which is an outcome that can no longer be in doubt)," the group said.
The presentation came the day after French President Francois Hollande called on the Syrian opposition to form a provisional government, and pledged that France would recognize it as legitimate.
Both steps will likely spur a new wave of diplomatic pressure against the government of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad. But Syrian opposition forces remain fragmented and divided; many political experts say that even if Assad goes there is no guarantee that the bloodshed will end, and that the worst-case scenario of prolonged civil war is a distinct possibility.