Five Syrian opposition groups form new coalition

Five Syrian opposition groups on Saturday announced the formation of a new coalition, a sign of how difficult opponents of the Damascus regime find it to cooperate, a year after the start of the protest movement.

The five groups, meeting in Turkey, said their yet unnamed coalition would act independently from the Syrian National Council (SNC), the main opposition coalition which was set up in August to fight President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

The new group is made up of the liberal National Movement for Change, the Islamist Movement for the Fatherland, the Bloc for Liberation and Development, led by Nawaf al-Bashir, a tribal chief, the Turkmen National Bloc, and the Kurdish Movement for a New Life.

Asked about relations between the new coalition and the SNC, Ammar al-Qurabi, leader of the National Movement for Change, told AFP his "coalition was not set up in opposition to anyone, other than Assad's regime, but rather to unite the opposition outside the SNC."

"We see the SNC as a temporary structure which will disappear with time, while our own coalition is a more long-term entity that will be there after liberation" in Syria, according to Imamduddin al-Rashid, head of the Movement for the Fatherland.

The SNC has emerged as one of the main voices of the opposition, but is often criticized by activists inside Syria who say the mostly exiled leadership has little connection to protesters on the ground.

The SNC was dealt a blow earlier this week when three prominent members resigned in frustration.

"There is a small group that wants to monopolize the SNC and all the decision-making," Kamal al-Labwani, one of those who quit, told AFP. "They are doing nothing for the opposition.

"Some are in it for personal gain and the Muslim Brotherhood is trying to monopolize aid and weapons to gain popular influence on the ground."

Labwani said he planned to call for a conference in Istanbul that would gather all opposition groups in order to pressure the international community to offer them assistance.

"We need a council that plays an effective role in overseeing the armed uprising, represents the revolution, helps with the downfall of the regime and spreads democracy," he said. "We don't want another dictatorship."

The opposition's lack of unity and transparency has stood in the way of Western and Arab governments giving it military backing, although Sunni powerhouse Saudi Arabia and Qatar have increasingly spoken in favor of such a step.

-AFP/NOW Lebanon

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  • Sarita

    in last days the resignation of 3 members from oposition in Syria was anounced, like it was one step back in the fight, I commented in this newspapers what this fact wont stop the spirit of fighting, on the contrary, it will generate more, and now we can read this, it doesnt mean only to be optimisit, it is to consider what the things have arrived to the pointed lived in Syria, people wont give one step back in easy way, good for Syrians, it was terrible reading how people put the landmine in border to avoid what they scape, oblying to die all together, this fact doesnt have pardon of god,syrian are human beings

    March 17, 2012