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.

 

President of Iraq Kurdistan vows to avenge Yazidi minority

US agrees to ‘expedite’ arms sales to Gulf countries

Israel ex-security chiefs to Netanyahu: Accept Iran deal as ‘fait accompli’

Egypt leader amends electoral law

Saudi king cuts short French Riviera holiday

US may take 'additional steps' to defend allied fighters in Syria

Turkey will do 'whatever necessary' in fight against militants

PKK claims deadly suicide bombing against troops in eastern Turkey

Sudan rebels offered guarantees to attend talks

Pro-Hadi forces target rebel-held base as coalition forces enter Aden

Israel's president threatened over 'Jewish Terrorism' comments

French beach returns to public after departure of Saudi King

Syria army plane crashes in rebel-held town of Ariha

Iran bans newspaper owned by nuclear deal critic

More Yemen refugees look for shelter in Djibouti

Erdogan: Putin may give up on Assad

Yemen rebel leader says political settlement still possible

Kerry in Qatar for talks on Iran nuclear deal

UAE prosecutor refers 41 people to trial on terrorism charges

Kerry to Middle East allies: Iran deal will make region safer

Egypt court again postpones verdict in retrial of Jazeera reporters

Al-Nusra Front releases video to show ‘capture’ of US-trained rebels

Israel faces mounting pressure after baby killing in arson attack

'PKK suicide attack' kills two soldiers in eastern Turkey

Egypt court postpones verdict on brother of Ayman al-Zawahiri

Immigration surpasses economy as major concern in Europe

Plane crash kills family members of Bin Laden

Iraq protesters vent anger over poor services

ISIS flexes muscles in eastern Libya

Syria army pushes back rebels near Latakia province

Arbil urges PKK to move out of Iraq Kurdistan

Yemen government returns to Aden with eyes set on Sanaa

Erdogan calls for early elections if no coalition

Palestinian baby killed in arson attack by Jewish settlers

Kurds in Diyarbakir fear return to war

State of emergency in Tunisia extended

Jerusalem Gay Pride attack suspect lashes out in court

'Kurdish Obama' faces his biggest test

Yemen blockade 'killing' as many civilians as war

EU urges Israel to show 'zero tolerance for settler violence'

Cash-strapped Tunisia's Syphax airline grounds flights

Pentagon denies US-trained rebels captured in Syria

Morocco king calls for development of remote regions

Host of US celebrities endorses Iran nuclear deal

PKK braces for fight with Turkey in Iraq mountain bastions