First Published: 2012-11-10

 

Opposition awaits Syria’s SNC response on unity plan

 

Syrian National Council, derided in Washington as dominated by out-of-touch exiles, is due to give its response to proposals for new broader-based body.

 

Middle East Online

Divisions may thwart hopes of unity

DOHA - The Syrian National Council, once regarded as the leading representative of the opposition but now derided in Washington as dominated by out-of-touch exiles, was due to give its delayed response on Saturday to proposals for a new broader-based body.

The SNC had asked for two postponements while it elected its own new leadership amid strong resistance among some of its members to what they see as its sidelining in the new US-backed structure.

The group chose a Christian as its new leader in a move seen as a response to criticism that Islamists played too dominant a role, but a major activist network inside Syria, the Local Coordination Committees, announced it was quitting the bloc in protest at its position on the unity talks.

Ahead of Saturday's meeting, the SNC was expected to set out a counterproposal to the plan already agreed by most other opposition groups.

The SNC proposal envisages the formation of a provisional government pending a general congress of the opposition, according to a document.

The existing plan, inspired by leading dissident Riad Seif who is reportedly seen by Washington as a potential new opposition leader, envisages the formation of a transitional government, a military council to oversee rebel groups on the ground and a judiciary to operate in rebel-held areas.

The 10-member transitional government would be elected by a new 60-member umbrella group drawn from civilian activists and rebel fighters inside Syria as well as the exiles who have dominated the SNC.

The SNC's repeated postponement of its response to the plan drew strong criticism from other opposition groups taking part in the unity talks.

Other factions went ahead with a planned meeting without the SNC on Friday evening in frustration at a second request for a postponement.

"The SNC's requests for delays are a bad thing -- they want to take over everything and the only thing that matters to them is who forms the leadership while our number one concern ought to be the bloodshed," one dissident, Haytham Maleh, said.

Activist group the Local Coordination Committees announced on Friday that it was withdrawing from the SNC in protest at its failure adopt "serious and effective" reforms.

The SNC elected George Sabra, a Christian former communist, as its new leader with Faruk Tayfur of the Muslim Brotherhood as his deputy.

Sabra, in his first statement as SNC chief, vowed to "work with other components of the Syrian opposition to accelerate the fall of the criminal regime."

 

60 killed in suicide bomb attack on Yemen army camp

Libya forces launch ‘final battle for Sirte’

Turkey's bombings kill civilians in northern Syria

Iraq officially asks Saudi Arabia to change ambassador

In Saudi city of Najran, Huthis commit war crimes with indiscriminate rockets

Iran arrests 'nuclear spy'

Egypt frees renowned rights lawyer, Malek Adly

Dozens killed as Turkey ramps up unprecedented offensive in Syria

Yemen government cautiously welcomes US peace plan

Yemen shelling kills three-year-old boy in Saudi border region

Turkey sends more tanks into Syria to bolster military offensive

Turkey arrests former top diplomats over failed coup

Tunisia swears in new premier after approval from parliament

Israeli troops shoot dead Palestinian in occupied West Bank

11 Turkish police officers killed in Cizre bomb attack claimed by PKK

French court suspends burkini ban

Tears as evacuation starts in Syria's Daraya

Turkey PM denies Syria operation singling out Kurds

Kerry, Lavrov meet for talks on Syria

Tunisia parliament to vote on cabinet proposal

Kuwait arrests govt employee promoting IS online

Turkey shells Kurdish fighters in Syria after warning

Oil prices fall on Saudi doubt on output cut

Jeddah meeting bears no fruit on Yemen conflict

Kerry in Saudi for talks on regional conflicts

UN Syria envoy expects 'impact' from Kerry-Lavrov meeting

Iraq parliament votes to impeach defense minister

Russia says will cooperate in Syria chemical attacks probe

Iraq forces take key town south of Mosul

Hamas to leave name off ballot in Palestinian elections

Iranian navy in 'unsafe' intercept of US destroyer

Three wounded in PKK attack on Turkey opposition chief's convoy

Erdogan to inaugurate Istanbul's third Bosphorus bridge

China to train Syrian troops

Turkey reinforces ground forces across border into Syria

Turkey says 'every right' to intervene if Kurds fail to withdraw

UN rights chief urges international probe of Yemen violations

Tunisia unity government to remain unchanged

Raped teen who took own life finally gets justice in Morocco

Syria rebels backed by Turkey tanks 'seize' Jarabulus

Libya's presidential council to present new cabinet

Syria regime, Kurds blast Turkish incursion

Biden: Washington told Kurds not to cross Euphrates

Israeli court shuns plea to unchain Palestinian hunger striker

Saudi police foil mosque suicide bombing