As Syrian forces continue a deadly crackdown on anti-government protests, opposition figures gathered in Turkey to nominate a council to aid the transition in the event of a post-President Bashar al-Assad Syria.
REUTERS - Leading Syrian opposition figures, encouraged by international support for their cause, met in Istanbul on Saturday to nominate a council that could aid in a transition of power if President Bashar al-Assad is toppled by an uprising against his rule.
The council would speak for dissidents in exile and activists on the ground, opposition figures told Reuters.
“We need to have a road map for a transition and unity among the opposition,” said Merza, who works in the Gulf.
Western governments, who have stepped up sanctions on Assad in reaction to his crackdown on protesters, have privately expressed frustration with the lack of unity among the opposition.
The uprising in Syria has helped resurrect an opposition decimated by 41 years of Assad family rule. It has also stimulated exiled dissidents to bankroll the revolt and to coordinate with local pro-democracy protest organisers on the ground.
The conference also brought two groups composed mostly of Syrian technocrats and professionals, the Islamist leaning National Action Front and the more secular Democratic Coordination Forum. Representatives said the two groups have been meeting to agree on the council, expected to be announced in the next few days.
“The opposition is starting to realize that they cannot be all chiefs and that they have to live up to the expectations of the international community,” said Haj Saleh, a veteran opposition figure.
Date created : 2011-08-21