Latest News:  
Beijing   Sunny/Cloudy    16 / 6 ℃  City Forecast


Syria's exiled opposition groups agree to form coalition


13:19, November 12, 2012

DAMASCUS, Nov. 12 (Xinhua) -- Syria's exiled opposition groups initially agreed Sunday to form a coalition to negotiate with President Bashar al-Assad, while opposition parties at home denounced it.

The Syrian government condemned it as a "political folly," saying dialogue is the only option for national reconciliation.

The new Syrian National Coalition for Opposition and Revolutionary Forces will be composed mainly of opposition groups outside Syria, but will also include activists from inside the country as well as rebels' commanders, reports said.

Once the new coalition earns international approval, its members will form an interim government in exile and call for a national conference, a draft of the agreement said.

The exiled Assad opponents have been meeting in Doha, Qatar, since last week under U.S. pressure to unite its ranks.

On Sunday evening, they elected Maath al-Khatib as president of the new coalition, and picked Riad Seif and Suheir Atassi as vice presidents.

The 52-year-old Khatib is a moderate Islamic preacher who rejects the sectarian rivalries among the Syrians. He was imprisoned several times in Syria over participation in anti-government activities.

Seif and Arassi are also prominent dissidents who had been jailed before leaving the country.

The Syrian National Council (SNC), the main opposition umbrella abroad, had previously rejected forming a broader platform for the opposition as it feared its influence could diminish. However, the SNC secured 22 seats out of the coalition's 60.

The Syrian government has dismissed the Doha meeting, saying it was a "new form of foreign interference that aims to market an old product ... in a new form," according to Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi.

In an interview with state-run Syrian TV aired late Friday, al-Zoubi said this "product" would never be marketed locally and popularly because "any national, even if he was an opponent, would not accept to be part of such project."

"If there is anyone who believes that the demonstrations and meetings that convene at hotels can make a state or a political project and overthrow the government, he is deluding himself and his thinking is nonsense and a kind of political folly," he added.

"Dialogue is the sole option in Syria that can succeed," he stressed.

Al-Zoubi also said the Syrian leadership believes in dialogue "which should be between effective, organized and influential parties ... but not between the opposition and the government, unless those (opposition) forces seek actually Syria's interest."

Meanwhile, Luai Hussain, head of the oppositional Building Syria State party, said his party rejects everything that comes out of the broad-based opposition.

"We reject the formation of any transitional government abroad and any other decision... and we regard such act as a direct and real aggression on Syrians' right to choose their leaderships and determine their destines."

He said his party will do its utmost by mobilizing the Syrian public opinion to hobble efforts to form a government abroad.

"The formation of any interim government abroad would be conducive to increasing division in the Syrian society, and thus would widen the platform of a civil war," he added.

Along with other leading opponents on ground, Hussain didn't take part in the Doha meeting apparently because he was not invited.

The National Coordination Body for Democratic Change, a Damascus-based opposition group, didn't take part in the Doha meeting either.

Since the beginning of the Syrian unrest last year, Assad's opponents inside and outside the country have not been on the same page regarding their approaches. The exiled opposition keeps calling for foreign intervention in Syria, while the Syria-based opposition rejects that approach and accuses the exiled groups of playing out a foreign conspiracy.

Most viewed commentaries

World News in Photo
A review on U.S. warships that pulled in HK Beauty of body on and off stage Hard life of rickshaw drivers in old city of New Delhi
N. Korea's 'dear respected' leader watches soccer game N. Korea's Kim visits breast cancer research center N. Korea's top leader visits sports facilities


Leave your comment0 comments

  1. Name


Selections for you

  1. Devil training of PLA

  2. Weekly review of military photos

  3. Most expensive diamonds in the world

  4. Skating party for singles held

  5. Beijing experiences windy weather

  6. Taobao bonanza breaks records

  7. Small issues return partners to singlehood

  8. Angry Birds Invading China’s Mcdonald

Most Popular


  1. Online amenities create utopia of idiots
  2. Economic ranking means less for public
  3. Commentary: What path will economy take
  4. Growth of for-profit hospitals should be limited
  5. Mahjong: to protect or to crack down?
  6. Commertary: Finding a dynamic balance
  7. Central bank to use more open-market operation
  8. Commentary: Have confidence in China
  9. Chicagoans await election with mixed feelings
  10. Confident beginning paves way for happy marriage

What’s happening in China

Weekly Photos of China: Nov 5-11

  1. State Council’s 1st Weibo
  2. Rare mutation solves murder
  3. City unlocks restrooms for public
  4. 'Grid system' ensures well-being of the elderly
  5. Singles declare love ... for online shopping