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.

 

Syria regime, Kurds blast Turkish incursion

Kerry heads to Saudi on Yemen peace push

Libya parliament rejects Sarraj’s unity government

Hajj stoning to be shortened after deadly stampede

Muslim women say swimsuit uproar is 'absurd'

Syria rebels backed by Turkey tanks 'seize' Jarabulus

Libya's presidential council to present new cabinet

Biden: Washington told Kurds not to cross Euphrates

Israeli court shuns plea to unchain Palestinian hunger striker

Saudi police foil mosque suicide bombing

Kerry to meet Russia's Lavrov in Geneva on Friday

Kurdish forces in Syria prime target for Turkey

Drone strike kills 2 Qaeda suspects in Yemen

Iran yet to decide on OPEC limits

Iraq forces advance south of Mosul

Gaza animals leave 'world's worst' zoo

Hasakeh: key flashpoint for Syria regime, Kurds

British woman killed in Australian stabbing

Turkey launches operation to clear Syria border town from IS

Israel raids West Bank arms factories

Morocco posts fall in foreign tourist arrivals

Turkey cuts interest rates defying inflation jump

Syria regime, Kurds agree Hasakeh truce

Iran says it requested Russian strikes on Aleppo

Turkey shells IS positions in Syria

UN braces for massive flight from Mosul

Sudanese migrant killed in Calais clashes

Palestinian suspect in police killings beaten to death

Iraq forces launch push to retake town south of Mosul

UN aid chief warns of 'unparalleled' catastrophe in Aleppo

Prominent Morocco Islamists rapped over 'sex on beach'

Yemen army looks to break Taez siege amid deadly battles

Jordan to allow more Syrian children access to education

Tunisia parliament sets date for unity government vote

Iraq forces foil attack by teenage bomber

Israel launches 'dozens' of Gaza strikes

Russian stops using Iran airbase for raids on IS in Syria

Turkey says Syria border region must be 'cleansed' of IS jihadists

Turkey authorities scramble to identify child bomber

Libya forces seize more IS ground in Sirte

Sisi says Putin ready to revive Palestine/Israel talks

Jihadist asks Malians for 'forgiveness' for Timbuktu attacks

Iran criticize Russia’s ‘show off’ on airbase use

Ennahda 'has reservations' on Tunisia unity govt

In sharp reversal, Trump pitches softer line on immigration