First Published: 2012-11-11

 

Difficult birth of unified Syrian national coalition

 

Syrian opposition groups meeting in Doha agree in principle on plan to unite against President Bashar al-Assad.

 

Middle East Online

Compromise between Sabra and Seif reached

DOHA - Syrian opposition groups meeting in Doha have agreed in principle on a plan to unite against President Bashar al-Assad, participants announced early Sunday following marathon talks.

"We have agreed on the main points of the formation of a Syrian national coalition for the forces of the opposition and the revolution. We will continue our discussions on the details on Sunday," opposition figure Suhair Atassi said after 12 hours of talks.

"We were on the point of signing (the accord) but we preferred to give some time to study the internal rules at the request of certain parties," said fellow delegate Riad Seif, reportedly seen by Washington as a potential new opposition chief.

The participants were set to resume their talks at 0700 GMT.

It came after the Syrian National Council (SNC) came under increased Arab and Western pressure to accept an opposition unity plan, amid growing frustration among other dissident groups.

Once regarded as the leading opposition representative but increasingly derided in Washington as dominated by out-of-touch exiles, the SNC had already twice asked for a postponement of the talks on plans for a broad-based government-in-waiting.

The deal is based on an initiative by Seif that 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 by the exiles who have dominated the SNC.

On Saturday the SNC had put forward its own proposals and its new leader George Sabra told reporters in Doha that "the SNC is older than... any other initiative" on the table, adding that no opposition group should be forced under the banner of another.

According to watchdog the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, more than 37,000 people have died since the uprising against President Assad erupted in March 2011, first as a protest movement and then as an armed rebellion.

 

UN Syria peace talks begin in Geneva

Israel to deny Human Rights Watch visas for being ‘biased’

Iraqi forces enter IS-held west Mosul

Suicide bomb attack on rebels kills 51 near Al-Bab

Marrakesh clinches top ranking of African urban life

UN considers Syria sanctions over chemical attacks

Saudi Comic-Con slammed as ‘sin’ in online backlash

Jordanians protest government price hikes

Baghdad coordinated anti-IS airstrikes with Damascus says source

New Hamas Gaza leader makes first public appearance

Palestinian protestors clash with Israeli soldiers in West Bank

Jordanian F-16 crashes in Saudi, pilot survives

Iraqi PM says air force strikes IS targets in Syria

UN slams light sentence for Israeli soldier

Saudi king seeks investment on rare Asia tour

Saudi minister discusses hajj with Iran

136 Turkish diplomats, soldiers seek German asylum since coup

New Hamas ‘strongman’ could spell fresh Israeli conflict

Suicide car bomb kills eight outside Yemen army base

Fired Turkish academics protest ‘unjust’ dismissals

Iraqi forces jovial after Mosul airport entry

Syrian rebels announce capture of flashpoint town from IS

Iraqi forces enter IS-held Mosul airport

Swedish citizen jailed for IS Facebook post

Somalia names new prime minister

Netanyahu backs pardon for Israel soldier who shot Palestinian

UN envoy meets Syrian rivals, hopes of breakthrough slim

Yemeni government forces pin back rebels on coast

Israeli Supreme Court appoints deeply right-wing judges

Hundreds of Australians protest Netanyahu

Yemen rebel fire kills policeman on Saudi border

UN condemns Israel's new West Bank demolition plans

UN envoy says Russia asked Syria to halt bombing during talks

Bahrain arrests 20, approves military trials for civilians

Israel blocks EU lawmakers from Gaza entry

Syrian migrant on trial in Austria over 20 murders

UN says rapes, killings still blight Darfur

Yemen president says Saudi saving $10 bn for reconstruction

Top Yemen commander killed in missile strike

New Somali president says ability to deal with nation's problems 'limited'

Israel lifts ban on basketball team playing in Turkey

Arab League condemns Israeli soldier’s lenient sentence

Turkey lifts ban on Islamic headscarves in army

Israeli ministry orders removal of Haifa ammonia tank

Iraqi forces ready for assault on Mosul airport