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."

 

Warring Syrians set for first face-to-face at Astana

Turkey moves closer to expanding Erdogan powers

IS demolishes more monuments in recaptured Palmyra

Bodies of firemen recovered from Tehran tower

Police, ruling party hit by attacks in Istanbul

Bomb kills 4 in refugee camp near Syrian border with Jordan

Egypt says political solution 'only way' for Libya ahead of talks

Turkey concedes including Assad in Syria talks

Netanyahu congratulates ‘friend’ Trump in tweet

Israel denounces Belgian plan to interrogate ex-minister

Denmark grants soldiers permission to fight IS in Syria

Car bomb near Benghazi mosque wounds 12

UN calls IS destruction of Palmyra relics ‘war crime’

Armed settlers rescued from angry Palestinian villagers

Petition filed for Israeli court to return body of Bedouin

29 Yemen rebels killed by Saudi-led air strikes

Iran losing hope of saving trapped firefighters

Algeria’s Islamist parties unite ahead of April elections

British worker dies on Qatar 2022 World Cup site

Search continues for trapped Iran firefighters

More than 40 jihadists killed in north Syria air strikes

Trump to be sworn in as 45th US president

Trump to retain envoy to anti-IS coalition

More than 20 firefighters feared dead in Tehran building collapse

Explosions in Gaza target Fatah member

UN expert tells Saudi to end ban on women driving

Desalination plant opens in Gaza to tackle water crisis

Syria’s Assad hopes rebels disarm after Astana talks

UN says 400,000 Syrian child refugees in Turkey not in school

Libya PM skips Davos to focus on electricity crisis

Greece, Cyprus insist peace deal must include Turkish withdrawal

Mistura to lead UN delegation at Astana Syria talks

Turkey slams French satire song about Istanbul attack

Saudi minister says kingdom to become ‘softer’ after reforms

Bahrain lifts ban on electronic Al-Wasat newspaper

Arab Israelis strike in protest over house demolitions

Iran sees Syria talks as opportunity to gain influence

Kuwait upholds sentence for three royals for insulting judges

Tunisia facing mounting calls against jail-for-joint law

Iran's oldest high-rise building on fire collapses

IMF says Egypt on track for next aid tranche

Bahrain police disperse Shiite protesters

Key Syria rebel group opts out of Astana peace talks

Moroccan Sufi ‘living master’ dies at 95

France says Iraqi jihadist among 2015 stadium bombers