Following are excerpts from a statement by Abd Al-Basset Sarot, goalkeeper of the Syrian national youth soccer team, which was posted on YouTube, on July 10, 2011:
Cameraman: The city of Homs, July 20, 2011.
Abd Al-Basset Sarot: In the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate. I, Abd Al-Basset Sarot, am a Syrian citizen, and the goalkeeper of the Syrian national youth soccer team and of the Karama club.
The Syrian regime has accused me of being a Salafi and of planning to establish a Salafi emirate. This accusation was made when we took to the streets, demanding freedom for the Syrian people. I am now wanted by the security agencies, which are trying to arrest me.
I declare, in sound mind and of my own volition, that we, the free Syrian people, will not back down until our one and only demand is met: the toppling of the regime. We are not Salafis, and there is no truth to the regime's claims about armed groups or a Salafi emirate.
We've been living as brothers for centuries under the free skies of this nation, despite our different creeds. I hold the Syrian regime responsible for any possible harm done to me.
Long live free Syria. Long live our proud people that rejects humiliation.