First Published: 2012-12-08

 

Syria opposition to form unified military council

 

Opposition agrees military council will take overall command of rebel groups to address Western concerns over growing influence of jihadists.

 

Middle East Online

Military command will not include radicals

MANAMA - Syria's new opposition coalition will announce the creation of a military council before a Friends of Syria meeting next week, to unify the ranks of insurgents, a top official said on Saturday.

National Coalition Secretary General Mustafa Sabbagh said the group "will announce the creation of a supreme military council before the Friends of Syria meeting in Marrakesh" due to take place on December 12.

In mid-November opposition factions met in Qatar and agreed to set up the National Coalition and bring together rebel forces under a supreme military council, as well as establish a judicial commission for rebel areas.

Under the deal the opposition agreed that the military council would take overall command of the various rebel groups on the ground to address US and other Western concerns over the growing influence of jihadist fighters.

The proliferation of jihadist fighters have stoked fears in the West with powers wary of providing weapons to rebels battling the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, lest the arms fall into the hands of extremists.

"The council will be exclusively responsible for receiving military aid which we obtain," from outside Syria, Sabbagh said.

He also stressed that the military command will not include radical groups such as Al-Nusra Front which, along with other Islamists rebels rejected the formation of the opposition National Coalition.

The Al-Nusra Front, which has become a formidable fighting force, has claimed the majority of suicide bombing attacks in Syria's 21-month-old insurgency that has cost tens of thousands of lives.

"Setting up the supreme military council is an important initiative to unify military action," said Sabbagh.

The council will comprise "commanders of the various military councils on the group and forces battling the regime, namely the (main rebel) Free Syrian Army," he said on the sidelines of a regional security forum in Bahrain.

Morocco has said it will host next Wednesday the fourth round of a Friends of Syria meeting of nations that support the opposition.

It will take place in the southern Moroccan city of Marrakesh, the foreign ministry has said, adding that more than 100 delegations will attend including members of the new Syrian opposition coalition.

Diplomatic sources in Rabat said US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would be among those attending.

The meeting is aimed at finding "ways of ensuring a political transition, and of mobilising vital humanitarian aid," the foreign ministry in Morocco has said.

The group, which includes Western and Arab countries, last met in Paris in July.

 

Bloodbath in Syria's eastern Ghouta

Two hardline Syria rebels announce merger

IS kills 25 Iraqi militiamen near Kirkuk

Sudan frees dozens of activists detained after protests

Saudi Arabia to host first Arab Fashion Week

Abbas calls for peace conference in rare UN speech

Egyptian court adds leading government critic on terror list

Yemen government offensive threatens heritage site

Turkey considering chemical castration for child abusers

45 civilians killed in air strikes on rebel enclave

Cairo sheds Ottoman-era street names amid Egypt-Turkey crisis

New woes for Israeli PM in fresh graft cases

Maghreb countries wary about jihadists relocating from Iraq, Syria

Erdogan says Turkey will besiege Afrin "swiftly"

Turkey releases leading pro-Kurdish politician

5 Iranian police killed in Sufi protests

Iran finds wreckage of crashed plane on top of mountain

Israel’s gas contract with Egypt: deal or no deal?

Somalia appoints new police, intelligence chiefs

Iran plane crash rescue search halted for second night

France reaffirms commitment to Iran nuclear deal

Turkey warns Syria against protecting Kurds

Abbas warms up to Moscow amid cold US-Palestinian ties

Israel strikes 'historic' gas contract with Egypt

Are Iranian satellite channels aiding regime change?

Israel pounds Gaza with air strikes after rocket attack

Iraq orders deportation of French jihadist

Pro-Assad militias to enter Syria's Afrin

Three Egyptian soldiers killed in Sinai

Israeli, US officials meet over gas row with Lebanon

Iran's supreme leader says progress needed on justice

Syria Kurds claim striking positions in Turkey

Netanyahu warns Iran, brandishes piece of metal

66 feared dead as plane crashes in Iranian mountains

Saudi women to open businesses without male permission

Netanyahu slams 'outrageous' Holocaust remark by Polish PM

Israeli air strikes kill 2 in Gaza

Six suffer breathing difficulties after Turkish shelling in Afrin

Russian mercenaries - a discrete weapon in Syria

Iran protests ban on wrestler who threw bout to avoid Israel

Fears of expanding Syrian war could trigger peace deal

Battle to free Mosul of IS 'intellectual terrorism'

Turkey frees Garman-Turk journalist after one year without charge

Turkey hands life sentences to 3 journalists for Gulen links

Turkey, US agree to ‘work together’ in Syria