Dissidents in Syria finally unite against Assad regime
Monday 03 October 2011
A wide-ranging coalition of dissidents dealt the most significant political challenge yet to President Bashar al-Assad yesterday by declaring an opposition government-in-exile and calling for the toppling of their leader.
Members of some of the country's most prominent political factions, including the Muslim Brotherhood and other high profile Syrian émigrés, formally announced the birth of the Syrian National Council (SNC) in Istanbul and committed themselves to routing the Assad regime.
"This is the consensus we have been striving for," said one activist from Hama. "The world should recognise the SNC and respect the will of the Syrian people."
It came on the day that US ambassador Robert Ford was warned by a state-run newspaper not to meddle in Syrian affairs.
The article, printed in Al Baath, came two days after pro-government protesters attacked Mr Ford's car with eggs and iron bars.
"If you want to avoid rotten eggs, you should advise your country to stop its blatant interference in Syrian affairs and its feverish efforts to seek sanctions against Syria from the UN Security Council," the newspaper commented.
The country's state-run news agency also claimed yesterday that troops had taken control of Al-Rastan, where hundreds of army deserters had reportedly been battling Assad's forces.
The claim was backed up by a prominent activist, who told Reuters news agency the defectors had retreated from the area.
Yesterday's declaration, agreed by a broad cross-section of Islamists, secularists, Kurdish political figures and long-time Syrian dissidents, was the most plausible attempt at forming one central organising body for the opposition yet.
A statement from the SNC said its members were aiming to achieve "the wishes and hopes of our people in overthrowing the current regime".
Mohamed Karkouti, a member of the newly-founded organisation, said: "It's a government in exile. We want to provide this revolution with political weapons."
According to prominent SNC member Bourhan Ghalioun, the new coalition aims to provide a united international front for the opposition, while UK-based Syrian journalist Hussam Mohammad claimed the organisation would enable Syria's activists to act with one voice. "The Foreign Office receives 10 or 15 visits every month from different groups," he said. "From now on there will only be one group."
Activists in Syria told The Independent they welcomed the development. "I'm happy," said one in Damascus. "Now we have a solid interface to represent us in front of the international community."
'Women should not laugh in public,' says Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister in morality speech
Richard Dawkins says 'date rape is bad, stranger rape is worse' on Twitter
Ross Burden dead: MasterChef and Ready Steady Cook star dies at age 45 after suffering from cancer
Zayn Malik on Israel-Gaza: One Direction singer bombarded with Twitter death threats after posting #FreePalestine
MH17 crash: Black boxes show plane suffered 'massive explosive decompression' following shrapnel hit
- 1 Disney heiress Abigail disowns her share of family profits in West Bank company
- 2 The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
- 3 'Women should not laugh in public,' says Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister in morality speech
- 4 Ebola virus: UK health officials issue warning to doctors as experts admit the outbreak 'is not under control'
- 5 Ross Burden dead: MasterChef and Ready Steady Cook star dies at age 45 after suffering from cancer
- < Previous
- Next >
Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: The Organisation: The Green Recrui...
£350 - £400 per annum + competitive: Orgtel: Project Manager (specializing in ...
£40000 - £50000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Embedded Sof...
£50000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Working for a m...