News / Middle East

United Syrian Opposition Seeks Recognition in Cairo

Maath al-Khatib poses for a photo after being elected president of the newly formed Syrian National Coalition for Opposition and Revolutionary Forces, created after the Syrian National Council (SNC) agreed to the new group, November 11, 2012.
Maath al-Khatib poses for a photo after being elected president of the newly formed Syrian National Coalition for Opposition and Revolutionary Forces, created after the Syrian National Council (SNC) agreed to the new group, November 11, 2012.
Edward Yeranian
Members of the newly elected Syrian opposition umbrella group are meeting Monday with Arab League foreign ministers in Cairo to discuss plans for further international support in ousting embattled President Bashar al-Assad. U.N.-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi also is due to address the League.

A new opposition council was elected overnight in the Qatari capital, Doha. Islamic cleric Maath al-Khatib, a former imam at Damascus' venerable Umayyad Mosque, was chosen to head the group. Addressing the gathering, he explains his next move:

Al-Khatib said the first act of the new council will be to meet the head of the Arab League in Cairo and to work out a legal formula to recognize this group as the sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people.

Al-Khatib is to be accompanied on his visit by Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem bin Jabir Al Thani, whose government hosted the marathon four-day talks that culminated in Sunday's agreement.

Mouaz al-Khatib

  • Former imam at Umayyad mosque in Damascus
  • His father also was an imam at Umayyad mosque
  • Fled to Cairo, Egypt, after being arrested several times for supporting Syrian uprising
  • Headed Islamic Modernization Group
  • 52 years old
Veteran Syrian dissident Riad Seif, who devised the plan for a new opposition group, and whom many thought would be chosen to head it, said that foreign states have pledged to recognize the new entity.

Seif said there is a clear [international] promise for the first time to support the rebels in their quest to defend the Syrian people against regime warplanes, heavy artillery and tanks.

Khattar Abou Diab, who teaches political science at the University of Paris, said the new council aims to provide a moderate face of the opposition to win international support.

Diab said the new alliance was formed in response to international pressure to reorganize the opposition. He said that some foreign states may want the new council to talk to the Assad regime, but he doubted that would happen. The new leadership, he said, symbolically includes a moderate Sunni cleric and a leftist Christian, to gain more international support.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov, on the social media network Twitter, urged the new opposition council to hold talks with Syria's government. Russia, along with Iran, are main outside backers of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

In Syria on Monday, a crowd of onlookers gathers around victims of a bombing by a government warplane of the border town of Ras al-Ain.  Amateur video shows a billowing cloud of smoke over the town, as residents shout that a warplane may have dropped a barrel-bomb, stuffed with explosives.

Rebel fighters captured the mostly Kurdish town along the Turkish border several days ago, after defeating government troops and Kurdish fighters. Unconfirmed reports say that Kurdish leaders had urged the rebels not to occupy the town to avoid government retaliation.

Elsewhere, dozens of artillery shells pounded Damascus' Tadamon district, igniting fires and spewing black and grey clouds of smoke into a rainy sky. Arab satellite channels reported that the government's Fourth Brigade brought in tanks to shell the area.

Heavy government artillery barrages and aerial bombardments also were reported over the eastern part of Syria. Amateur videos showed mosques and other buildings reduced to rubble. The rebels claimed to have downed a government helicopter in a video showing the flaming hulk of a chopper.

Also Monday, the Israeli military said one of its tanks fired into Syria scored "direct hits" against Syrian mobile artillery in response to a Syrian mortar shell that struck the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. It was the second time in two days that Israel has responded to what it said was errant Syrian fire.

You May Like

Republican Majority in Congress Off to Rough Start

Standoff over Homeland Security funding exposes philosophical, tactical problems within party More

Pakistan Blocks Baloch Activist from US Trip

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan slams Islamabad officials for stopping people from leaving country to attend human rights conference More

Video Muslims Long Thrived in North Carolina Before Students Killed

Idyll shattered February 10, when three Muslim university students living in Chapel Hill were gunned down by a neighbor More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Janisa from: WJHTRvulCvJ
November 29, 2012 8:29 AM
You have more useful info than the Bristih had colonies pre-WWII.

by: Michael from: USA
November 13, 2012 12:30 AM
A Syrian peaceful and democratic future places on the table a legacy of western politic which shows the intransigent mind-set in the larger world-in-waiting which Syria will have to face after its war. Can it do this?

by: musawi melake from: -
November 12, 2012 6:33 AM
When it comes to Islam, there's nothing called "moderate. "It's a non-existent thing. At the end of the day the West is going to hand over the power to an extremist regime after toppling the Assads, who have been not unfriendly after all.
In Response

by: Shakeel from: Pakistan
November 14, 2012 4:21 AM
and the Christians who are interfering and intervening in Syria by allowing them weapons for bloodshed are moderate? what has happened to the Christians which has deteriorated the peace of the world in the name of so called terrorism. In Iraq the so called champions of peace killed more than a million Muslims by falsely alleging presence of WMDs, and yet they are moderate. In Afghanistan they invaded for shaping the new world order and killed thousands, yet they are moderate. these sympathizers of Muslims killed the Libyan president for oil and destroyed the peace of Libya and yet you are moderate. In fact when you are told not to deteriorate and the peace and serenity of the world , you say "we are peace lovers" .... thanks to your propaganda machines. plz let the Muslims to live with peace.
In Response

by: Anonymous
November 12, 2012 2:37 PM
that is right!!! whatever you may say about Assad - he kept the border calm with Israel... never allowed anyone to molest them from his territory... I wonder if his successor can manage that... look at Morsi... the Sinai is Al Qada territory today...

by: bigass from: dakar
November 12, 2012 5:58 AM
i think peace must be the priority of syrian rebel as asad. they have to life in peace .

by: Shakeel from: Pakistan
November 12, 2012 5:25 AM
i would ask the USA to stop its illegal interference and intervention in Syria and throughout the world for its illegal interests.. stop providing weapons to the so called Syrian rebels so that the bloodshed you have provoked in Syria stops.
In Response

by: Anonymous
November 29, 2012 2:34 PM
Shakeel, I believe the fake "pro rebel" commenter are paid well by the oily royals in the gulf, who want to make it "seem" like there is a revolution but the reality is that Syrians would prefer stability and peace over what the duplicitous "rebels" can offer.
In Response

by: Free Syrian from: Syria
November 12, 2012 11:38 AM
I can't wait until the Assad regime falls and all these pro-ASSad comments all over the internet from ASSad's paid cyber army stop trying to change public opinion in favor of ASSad. Nobody believes you, you have lost, join the people's freedom revolution before its too late.

by: Shakeel from: Pakistan
November 12, 2012 4:54 AM
yea. he is good because he serves US interests better.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Studentsi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
March 05, 2015 9:04 PM
The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Students

The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More