Syria troops shell; Muslim group wants democracy

BEIRUT (AP) — Syrian forces fired shells at a central city that has come to symbolize the anti-government uprising Monday, activists said, while the country's Muslim Brotherhood branch said it would work for a democratic state if President Bashar Assad falls.

The announcement by the exiled Syrian Muslim Brotherhood was an appeal by the Sunni Muslim group to minorities who fear for their place in a post-Assad Syria.

Since the uprising started last March with protests calling for political reform, it has stoked tensions among Syria's varied religious and ethnic groups.

Many in the opposition are from the country's Sunni majority. Religious minorities — Christians, Shiites and Alawites, who include Assad — have largely stuck by the regime, fearing new rulers could threaten their communities.

Speaking to reporters in Turkey, Brotherhood official Ali Bayanouni said the group would not monopolize power.

"The regime now is accusing the Muslim Brotherhood of trying to control Syria alone and of having aims of being the only rulers of Syria in the future," he said Sunday. "We are here today to reassure everyone that we will cooperate with all the other partners in the Syrian opposition to build a new Syria, a free Syria, a democratic Syria, and we will not attempt to the be the only ruling party in Syria."

The group issued a 10-point statement on the future of Syria, calling for a modern, democratic s... >>>

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