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."

 

Iraq operation to liberate Anbar faces barrage of criticism

Yemen shelling kills two Saudi border guards

Nusra Front chief pledges no attacks on West

Kerry set to launch final diplomatic push for Iran nuclear talks

Arrest of several FIFA leaders as part of twin corruption inquiry

Iran defends spy trial of US journalist

Iraq exhumed remains of 470 bodies from Tikrit mass graves

Coalition raids target headquarters of rebel troops in Yemen capital

EU calls for resumption of Palestinian-Israeli peace talks

Fast pace of executions in Saudi Arabia 'very disturbing'

Tunisia begins hearings into ex-regime's rights abuses

‘Islamic State’ executes 20 men in ruins of Syria ancient city

Saudi Arabia announces sanctions against two Hezbollah leaders

Libya to fight aggression with 'strength'

Iran says nuclear talks could go beyond deadline

Hamas accused of committing war crimes against civilians

German court rejects Yemenis' case over US drone killings

Kuwait emir urges Muslim states to fight extremism

NY Times journalist has Turkish citizenship revoked

Military site inspections necessary to Iran deal

Iraqi forces on outskirts of Ramadi

Syrian refugees ignored at Turkey poll campaign

Director 'shocked' at Morocco’s prostitution film ban

Libya PM survives assassination attempt

US criticises Shiite name of Iraqi military operation

Israel warplanes strike Gaza after rocket attack

Pro-government fighters retake Yemen city from Shiite rebels

Libya militias trap civilians in Benghazi

EU border agency plans to expand migrant rescue operation

Syria state TV blames ‘foreign enemies’ for signal jamming

Palestinians and jihadists clash in Yarmouk

Iraq refugees forced back into conflict zones

Kuwait restores Islamist lawmaker's citizenship

Washington Post reporter goes on trial behind closed doors in Iran

Iraq launches operation to drive ‘Islamic State’ from Anbar

New airport in restive eastern Turkey

Iran ‘thwarts’ US cyber attack on Oil Ministry’

Egypt opens border crossing with Gaza for 48 hours

Litany of problems keep Iraqi army weak and ineffective

Rouhani: most Iranians favour peace

Iran Foreign Minister discusses Yemen conflict in neutral Oman

Palestinians dismiss Netanyahu initiative

Three Moroccans jailed for homosexuality

Oxfam: 16 million Yemenis have no access to clean water

US, Iraq at loggerheads over Ramadi