Continued from page 1

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Saturday that Mr. al-Sharaa was a figure “whose hands are not contaminated in blood” and therefore acceptable to Syrian opposition groups.

“We are with any solution that stops the killings in Syria and respects the ambitions of the Syrian people in what guarantees that there will be no return to dictatorship and tyranny in Syria,” Mr. Sieda said by telephone from Turkey.

When asked about Mr. al-Sharaa, Mr. Sieda said, “We have no information that he participated in the killings or gave orders, but he belongs to the political leadership.”

Syrian officials have said that Mr. Assad will remain in his post until his seven-year term ends in 2014, followed by an election that is expected to pit Mr. Assad against other candidates.

Mr. Ban, speaking to the World Forum for Democracy in France, said the U.N.-Arab League envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, would return to the region this week to continue international efforts seeking a political transition in Syria.

Mr. Sieda said the Syrian opposition will not repeat a policy carried out in Iraq years ago when members of Saddam Hussein’s Baath party were forced to leave their jobs after his government was overthrown in the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

De-Baathification, a concept started under the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority, which ruled Iraq after the invasion, was an Iraqi government policy of trying to purge important government jobs and positions of former midlevel and high-ranking members of the Baath party.

“We will not repeat the failed experience of de-Baathification,” Mr. Sieda said. “We will just remove all its (Baath party’s) illegitimate privileges and officials who committed crimes will be put on trial.”

“The Baath party will practice its activities in accordance with the democratic process. We will not have a revenge policy, and we will preserve state institutions,” he said.

Activists reported violence in different parts of the country, mostly in the central city of Homs, the northern city of Aleppo and the southern region of Daraa.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based activist group, said 20 people were killed in the southern village of Karak, which has been attacked by government troops. It said the 20 were killed when vehicles transporting wounded people were targeted by troops.

Meanwhile, residents of the Turkish border town of Akcakale, struck repeatedly by shelling from Syria, said they fear for their safety, even though Turkish troops have deployed to the area.

“If this shelling is going to continue day in and day out, we can’t live here. We are not safe; our property is not safe,” said Hamit Ciftcioglu, whose jewelry store is just 75 yards from where a mortar round hit Sunday.

Last week, officials decided to reopen schools that had been closed for weeks because of dangerous conditions, but children who lined up Monday morning found they had nowhere to go.

“They told us schools would reopen on Monday, so we sent our children to schools this morning, but unfortunately they had to come back. They told us the schools were still closed,” said Isa Tokdemir, a father of two.

Story Continues →