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.

 

Iraq Kurds start voting in historic independence referendum

Erdogan threatens Iraqi Kurds with border closure, oil block

US-led strikes killed 84 civilians near Syria's Raqa

Iran shuts border with Iraqi Kurdistan

Dubai set to become first city with flying taxis

UAE announces plans for region’s first nuclear reactor

Putin to visit Erdogan this week for Syria, Iraq talks

Sudan vows to step up efforts to improve US ties

Turkey to launch intervention into Syria — and maybe into Iraq

Egyptian ‘world’s heaviest woman’ dies in Abu Dhabi

Palestinian unity government remains unlikely

Emirati man fights his employer to serve in country’s army

Palestinian PM to visit Gaza next week

Saudi advisory body to tackle female driving ban

Turkey denies closing Iraqi border in response to Kurdish vote

US air strikes kill 17 Islamic State militants in Libya

Yemen's Hadi says military solution 'most likely'

The high cost of Syria’s destruction

Palestinian negotiator awaits lung transplant in US

Kurds ready for contentious vote in Iraq

A Kurdish state: Reality or utopia?

Saudi intercepts missile fired from Yemen

Saudi Arabia marks national day with fireworks, concerts

Iran defies US, tests missile

Turkey warns of 'security' steps in response to Iraqi Kurd vote

Barzani delays Kurdish independence vote announcement

Syria's war off the radar at UN assembly

For many Iraqis, tradition trumps police

Darfur clashes kill 3 as Bashir urges reconciliation

Saudi cleric banned for saying women have ‘quarter’ brain

Veteran Syrian activist, daughter assassinated in Istanbul

Tunisia drops forced anal exams for homosexuality

Bomb used in Saudi-led strike on Yemen children US-made

Syria Kurds vote to cement federal push

Police charge teenager over London Underground attack

Nigerian official to meet Turkish counterpart over illegal guns

Thousands feared trapped in Raqa as IS mounts last stand

Iraqi forces achieve first step in new offensive on IS

Migrant boat sinks off Turkish Black Sea coast leaving four dead, 20 missing

Trump praises 'friend' Erdogan

Yemen leader promises UN to open entire country to aid

Rouhani vows Iran will boost missiles despite US criticism

Russia clashes with EU over Syria

UN Security Council warns against holding Iraqi Kurd vote

UN sets up probe of IS war crimes in Iraq