- Bashar al-Assad - Qatar - Syria - talks - unrest
Cleric to head united Syrian opposition bloc
Syrian opposition groups meeting in Doha elected cleric Ahmed al-Khatib on Sunday to head the newly formed National Coalition of Forces of the Syrian Revolution and Opposition, a bloc aimed at uniting those seeking to overthrow the Syrian regime.
Syrian opposition factions which agreed on Sunday in Qatar to form a new coalition to fight President Bashar al-Assad have elected cleric Ahmed al-Khatib to head the bloc, dissidents said.
Khatib, a moderate originally from Damascus who quit Syria three months ago, will lead the National Coalition of Forces of the Syrian Revolution and Opposition, formed after the Syrian National Council agreed to the new group.
Prominent dissident Riad Seif, who had tabled an initiative to unite the opposition, and female opponent Suhair al-Atassi, were elected as two vice presidents of the coalition.
The SNC had come under intense Arab and Western pressure to accept the unity plan amid growing frustration among other dissident groups.
The inked agreement stipulates that the bloc will be open to all factions, and will form a provisional government after gaining international recognition.
It will also support the unification of the revolutionary military councils, and will work for the fall of the regime and to dismantle the security organs
Former Syrian Prime Minister Riad Hijab who defected in August hailed the agreement as "an advanced step towards toppling the regime."