Syrian Muslim Brotherhood to launch political party

Syria's Muslim Brotherhood, a key opponent of President Bashar al-Assad's regime, announced plans Friday to launch an Islamist political party, saying it was ready for the post-Assad era.

"The decision has been taken to create an Islamic party," the head of the Brotherhood's political wing, Ali Beyanouni, told journalists after the group completed a four-day conference in Istanbul.

The new party would be "open to all Syrians" and will promote a "democratic and pluralist" vision of the state based on the equality of all citizens, Beyanouni said.

"We are ready for the post-Assad era, we have plans for the economy, the courts, politics," said Mulhem al-Droubi, the Brotherhood's spokesperson.

The Muslim Brotherhood is an Islamist political movement founded in Egypt in 1928 and has branches and affiliates around the world.

The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood was banned there in 1963. Many of its members fled Syria following a revolt that was violently suppressed in 1982, leaving nearly 20,000 people dead according to estimates.

Spokesperson al-Droubi acknowledged the group's current reach was limited.

"My opinion is that in case of free elections the Muslim Brothers wouldn't have more than 25 percent of the votes," he said.

But the group's leader, Mohammad Riad al-Shakfa, said the Brotherhood was still "present everywhere in Syria".

The Brotherhood plays a key role in the Syrian National Council, the opposition coalition opposing Assad.


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