MOSCOW, September 21 (Itar-Tass) —— The Syrian political landscape should not be drawn only draw in black and white, because inside the Opposition there is a wide array of opinions, Federation Council Deputy Speaker Ilyas Umakhanov told a news briefing. He led a delegation of Russian upper house members on a trip to Syria on September 17-20.
"During the trip we were able to meet with ordinary citizens on the streets and every now and then there were spontaneous rallies,” Umakhanov said. “The delegation had full freedom to meet with the opposition, without official representatives of the authorities being present."
Umakhanov described the situation in the country, as "complex, contradictory, and multidimensional."
"The political landscape cannot be drawn in black and white only,” said the FC deputy speaker. “Among the Opposition there is also wide array of opinions that do not always agree on key issues."
He said that the democratic reforms in Syria could not occur in an environment of violence, making it clear he did not consider possible for those members of the Opposition who had “stained themselves with blood” to participate in the inter-Syrian dialogue.
Umakhanov described the delegation’s visit as a new impetus to the continuation of inter-parliamentary ties and contacts aimed at assessing the situation in Syria.
During its stay in Syria the delegation was received by President Bashar al-Assad Speaker of the National Council (Parliament) Mahmoud al-Abrash, religious leaders and representatives of the Opposition. According Umakhanov, a meeting with the head of state "was held in a friendly and open manner." It was decided in principle to strengthen inter-parliamentary ties to further promote the resolution of the crisis in the country, as well as delegate to Syria in the near future a group of Russian journalists, who would familiarize themselves with what is happening on site and narrate what they have seen to the public at large. Speaking about that agreement Umakhanov said that "the Federation Council is ready to take the lead in organizing such a trip."
"We should not be confined to parliament, may others see what is really happening in Syria," he said.