May 31, 2013Syria
- Syrian air defenses shoot down U.S. drone
- Assad refuses negotiation with U.S.
- U.N. says Syrian refugees need $35 million aid every week
- U.S. open to negotiations with Syria’s Assad
- Regime forces hit Damascus countryside, 20 civilians reported dead
- Iranian commander to lead pro-Assad forces against rebels south Syria
- Assad’s cousin killed in Latakia
In an extended meeting on Thursday, the Syrian opposition declared that a liberal bloc is included in the National Coalition –the largest umbrella for opposition factions.
The assembly of the Syrian National Coalition –consisted of 60 members– agreed during the meeting to include 14 additional members from a recently founded liberal bloc, led by the prominent opposition figure Michel Kilo.
Moreover, the Coalition’s leadership also agreed on admitting another 14 members to represent activists’ groups inside Syria, beside 15 more members representing the Free Syrian Army (FSA) –opposition’s main armed wing.
However, the inconclusive talks and discussions didn’t lead to a final decision on the mechanisms of selecting these 29 new members, and this issue is expected to occupy the top of the Coalition’s agenda of the next meeting on June 12, according to sources.
George Sabra, current head of the Syrian National Coalition, revealed during a press conference followed the meeting that the coalition agreed on a plan for a “transitional period”, without providing any details on the alleged plan.
According to Sabra, “long deliberations” were required until agreeing on the names of the new members, “since they represented quality not quantity,” he said.
“The coalition has succeeded in undergoing the process of expansion in its ranks,” Sabra argued.
He added that the group has established committees concerned with the educational, agricultural and health issues, in an attempt to “minimize the deep suffering of civilians in Syria”, as the humanitarian crisis constantly increases.
Right after Thursday’s meeting, activists reported that the opposition is currently under pressure of certain regional and international powers, the issue to which Sabra answered: “No one can pressure us. Neither Bashar al-Assad nor his father and predecessor Hafez al-Assad before him, in their brutal dictatorships, were able to pressure us. The Syrian revolution does not accept any pressure.”
The Istanbul meeting was deemed a part of a continuous struggle for the Syrian opposition to cope the obstacles and end rifts in order to form a sufficiently united front, as the international powers call for the formation of such a front before a planned international conference meant to reach a resolution to end the ongoing war in Syria.
According to sources, the Syrian National Coalition issued a statement saying that it will not participate in the alleged U.S.-Russian peace initiative, especially as some key allies of the regime of President Bashar al-Assad –particularly Iran and Lebanese Hezbollah group– are fighting side by side with the pro-Assad army against the rebel forces in different areas of Syria.
By: Adib Abdulmajid
Source: ARA News -agencies