News / Middle East

Syrian Opposition Elects Interim Prime Minister

Syrian communications executive Ghassan Hitto (L), is congratulated late on March 18, 2013 in Istanbul after Syria's main opposition National Council elected him as prime minister.
Syrian communications executive Ghassan Hitto (L), is congratulated late on March 18, 2013 in Istanbul after Syria's main opposition National Council elected him as prime minister.
VOA News
The opposition Syrian National Coalition has chosen U.S.-educated former businessman Ghassan Hitto as provisional prime minister to administer the areas rebels have seized from Syrian government forces.   

Shortly after being elected, the American-educated IT manager and Islamic activist outlined his plans at a news conference.

He said our top priority is to use all conceivable means to topple the Assad regime, and to provide basic necessities and services to provide dignified life to our people in Syria.

The new opposition prime minister is working on creating an interim government, which he says will operate inside rebel-controlled areas of Syria.

Hitto promised the new government would be committed to defending the diverse social fabric of Syria. He also is looking to the international community for official recognition as the legitimate authority for Syria.

"I call on the international community to live up to its responsibilities," he said, "starting with granting the interim government of its seat in the United Nations and other international organizations, whereby the interim government can take control of Syria's embassies."

More than 100 countries have recognized the opposition coalition as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people, including the United States, Britain, France and Turkey.

Hitto also called for an unfreezing of Syrian assets, now blocked by a number of Western sanctions, and their transfer to the interim government.

Several opposition factions involved in actual fighting inside Syria are reported to have boycotted the vote that elected Hitto, criticizing him for lack of military experience.

But the head of the Free Syrian Army, General Salim Idris, said that force would respect the legitimacy of the new prime minister.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday reiterated his call for a political solution "while there is still time to prevent Syria's complete destruction."

Hitto was born in Damascus, the Syrian capital. Little known in Syria, Hitto has lived in the United States for more than two decades, most recently in Texas. He is a naturalized U.S. citizen.

  • Gas cylinders are displayed for sale on a street in Aleppo, March 24, 2013.
  • A man sells clothes in Aleppo March 24, 2013.
  • Free Syrian Army fighters carry weapons while walking down a debris-filled street in Aleppo March 19, 2013.
  • This citizen journalism image provided by the Aleppo Media Center shows Syrians searching for dead bodies in the rubble of buildings hit by Syrian airstrikes, Aleppo, March 20, 2013.
  • Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his wife Asma visit families of students killed during clashes between forces loyal to him and their opponents in Damascus in this handout photograph released by Syria's national news agency SANA on March 20, 2013.
  • Residents and medics transport a Syrian Army soldier, wounded in what they said was a chemical weapon attack near Aleppo, to a hospital, March 19, 2013.
  • People wounded in what the Syrian government said was a chemical weapons attack breathe through oxygen masks as they are treated at a hospital in Aleppo, March 19, 2013.
  • Girls paint their faces with colors of the Syrian revolutionary flag during a fesitval, in Aleppo, Syria, March 20, 2013.
  • A citizen journalism image of black smoke rising from a building hit by Syrian government shelling, Aleppo, March 19, 2013.

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by: Michael from: USA
March 19, 2013 8:20 AM
The opposition council is among those involved in decisions about offensive attack operations, which by necessity informs any chance at a truce as it glances at a future filled with war. Contingently, on the other hand, would be directed to studying how to prevent further civilian deaths by avoiding those areas where inhabitants exist

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