Syrian Opposition Meets with Turkish FM Davutoglu ahead of Qatar Summit

Senior members of the Syrian National Council, (SNC), including its head, Abdulbaset Sieda, met with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu in Ankara on Friday ahead of a major conference this weekend in Qatar and exchanged views on unifying the opposition under new leadership and structure.

After facing harsh criticism from the international community, the Syrian opposition, and especially SNC -- a largely foreign-based group that has been among the most vocal proponents of international intervention in the Syrian conflict, has stepped up its efforts to broaden its coalition against the Beshar al-Assad regime by including of other opposition groups in a bid to overcome legitimacy crisis and constant internal squabbles that weaken the appeal of revolution.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lashed out at the SNC for its failure to appear as a capable and inclusive organization during the 19-month-old Syrian uprising. Her remarks represent a clear break with the SNC as she regards the upcoming conference in Qatar as a chance to forge a new leadership for the Syrian opposition.

"This cannot be an opposition represented by people who have many good attributes but who, in many instances, have not been inside Syria for 20, 30, 40 years," Clinton said on Wednesday during a visit to Croatia. "There has to be a representation of those who are in the frontlines fighting and dying today to obtain their freedom."

Senior members of the SNC, Free Syrian Army (FSA) and other opposition groups ended a meeting in Turkey on Wednesday and pledged to unite behind a transitional government in coming months.

Syrian opposition members hammered out new plans for broadening the coalition before an upcoming conference this weekend in Qatar at which the United States is trying to unify the opposition under a new leadership.

Washington is reluctant to give a direct and stronger support to the opposition forces in part because of worries over its fractured nature and lack of organization.

Davutoğlu renewed his plea and said Syrian dissidents must gather under an umbrella organization that includes every group. He added that Turkey will keep its commitment to deliver humanitarian aid to Syrian refugees and dissidents who have fled war-torn Syria.
Praising Turkey's humanitarian efforts, SNC members have complained that the international community is dragging its foot in helping the Syrian opposition. (Cihan/Today's Zaman)
Last Modified: 2012-11-03 12:00:01
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