Delegates and officials from over 60 countries take part in the "Friends of Syria" conference in Tunis
Delegates and officials from over 60 countries take part in the "Friends of Syria" conference in Tunis on February 24. Syrian state TV on Friday broadcast live coverage of a "Friends of Syria" international conference in Tunis aiming to isolate the Damascus regime, instead dubbing it the "enemies of Syria" meeting. © Fethi Belaid - AFP
Delegates and officials from over 60 countries take part in the
AFP
Last updated: February 24, 2012

State TV wages war on "enemies of Syria" meeting

Syrian state television on Friday broadcast live coverage of a "Friends of Syria" international conference in Tunis aiming to isolate the Damascus regime, instead dubbing it the "enemies of Syria" meeting.

"The conference in Tunis is a meeting of the enemies of the Syrian people," said the mouthpiece of the regime of embattled President Bashar al-Assad, as it broadcast footage of the opening of the gathering in Tunisia.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other leading Western and Arab officials are taking part in the talks aimed at increasing pressure on Assad's regime over its more than 11-month bloody crackdown on the opposition.

The state broadcaster broadcast a written commentary over the conference speakers on its ticker banner, apparently to reflect the views of the Damascus regime.

When Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki spoke, the commentary was that he demanded "support for the terrorists and described them as rebels."

And when Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem bin Jabr al-Thani addressed the conference delegates, the comment on Syrian television was: "Hamad, a new phase of the conspiracy against Syria."

Damascus accuses oil- and gas-rich Qatar of funding the opposition and rebels in the uprising against Assad's regime which erupted in March 2011.

Television reporters also sought the views of people on the street about the Tunis meeting.

"We don't want intervention," said one man as bystanders gathered round the camera.

The channel also aired footage of a demonstration in Tunis against the meeting, as a guest commentator slammed the meeting and Arab countries attending it.

The Tunis gathering is expected to challenge Syria to allow in desperately needed humanitarian aid and voice support for the country's opposition.

"We look forward to concrete progress on three fronts: providing humanitarian relief, increasing pressure on the regime, and preparing for a democratic transition," Clinton said ahead of the meeting.

But the conference is marked by the absence of Russia and China -- which have both vetoed UN Security Council resolutions on the crisis -- highlighting the difficulty in building an international consensus on Syria.

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