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

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal 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.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid