News / Middle East

New Syrian Opposition Leader Reaches Out to Other Groups

Dorian Jones

ISTANBUL - The new leader of the main opposition Syrian National Council is pledging to widen support for the organization by reaching out to Syria's minority groups.  

 

Newly chosen Syrian National Council leader Abdulbaset Sieda says he is determined to build greater support from all sections of Syrian society in the battle to bring down President Bashar al-Assad's government.  

 

During a news conference in Istanbul, Sieda called for action.

 

He says he is calling on all expatriate Syrians to organize sit-down protests outside Syrian embassies.  He also asked U.N. observers to immediately go to the city of Homs and for all members of the Syrian armed forces to defect.  He says the country is now at a very critical stage, with the Assad regime on its last legs.

 

Following the news conference, Sieda said the U.N. Security Council must intervene. 

 

"[The] international community must decide the situation is not acceptable in Syria, now after all these massacres in Syria.  Now we are [hoping] they will do something under Chapter 7," he said. 

 

Sieda is referring to Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter, which permits the use of force.  But Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned Saturday his country would veto any such move. 

 

Sieda called for Russia, China and Iran to reconsider their positions in their support of the Assad government.  

 

He says officials in Russia and China must think very carefully about their actions, as the situation is threatening the stability of the region, if not the world.  Sieda also called for Iran to reconsider its stance. 

 

Sieda said he would reform the Syrian National Council to address growing criticism that it does not reflect the diversity of Syria and that it is dominated by the pro-Islamist Sunni Muslim Brotherhood.  He said the council will be reaching out to other opposition groups.

 

The election of Sieda, who is a Kurd, is seen as a gesture to Syria's large Kurdish minority, which like other minority groups in Syria, has been reluctant to offer support to the uprising.  Sieda supporters say he is also viewed as a neutral figure within the opposition council.

 

But political observers say he may have little power to push through major reforms and his election may not mark a significant shift in the organization.  His predecessor, Burhan Ghalioun, was forced to resign over growing criticism he was too close to the Muslim Brotherhood. 

 

Sieda was the only candidate, but a council official said about a third of the delegates voted against him for the three-month term as leader.

You May Like

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in pubic More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Godwin from: Accra
June 11, 2012 5:42 AM
So Sieda is a Kurd, and what does the Turkish authorities say to this after years of trampling upon the rights of the Kurdish minority in Turkey? Double standards

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid