[QODLink]
Middle East

Main Syrian opposition elects new president

Ahmad Asi al-Jarba to take over Western-backed Syrian National Coalition from acting chief George Sabra.

Last Modified: 06 Jul 2013 19:27
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback

The main Western-backed Syrian opposition group, Syrian National Coalition, has elected Ahmad Asi al-Jarba as president after a close run-off vote held in Turkey.

Al Jazeera's Osman Kaytazoglu, reported from Istanbul, said on Saturday that al-Jarba, a former political prisoner, defeated businessman Mustafa Sabbagh.

The SNC said on its Twitter account that al-Jarba received 55 votes of the 114-member council, while Sabbagh managed 52 votes.

The council also elected three vice presidents, Farouk Tayfour, Salem Muslit and Suhair al-Atassi, while Badr Jamous was elected as the new Secretary General.

Al Jazeera's Rula Amin, reporting from Beirut, said that SNC realised that it was losing credibility among Syrians who were suffering under heavy clashes in the country.

She said the new head of the coalition had three main challenges.

"He has to regain the trust of rebels and activists, struggle to control military council and different fighting groups in Syria and regain trust of international community," our correspondent said.

The president's post had been empty since April when former SNC President Mouaz al-Khatib resigned, citing frustration over what he called a lack of international support and constraints imposed on the body itself.

Since then, senior opposition figure George Sabra served as acting president of the SNC.

Members of the SNC will meet on Sunday to tackle key issues.

The Coalition is expected to approve the new cabinet. Incumbent Prime Minister Ghassan Hitto was tasked to form a government, but his prime ministership is also to be approved.

Speaking to Al Jazeera, prominent SNC member Luay Safi said, SNC was also to form a political committee, which would work like a policy-making body. 

"No Geneva talks on Sunday's agenda," Safi said.

Opposition criticised for Homs

Burhan Galyoun, a prominent figure of the opposition and former head of another Syrian opposition group, Syrian Council, criticised the Coalition for the failure to organise rebels in Syria.

He said Coalition was not doing enough to protect central city of Homs, where regime forces were advancing in rebel-held parts.

Galyoun said that an emergency meeting is to be held to plan to defend Homs and its people.

He also accused international community to be blamed for the civilian deaths in Syria.

Homs is a strategic city located between the capital Damascus and the Syrian coast, a stronghold for the Assad regime.

The city, considered the "capital of the revolution", has paid an enormous human and material price for the uprising against Assad's regime that began in March 2011 and has since evolved into full-fledged civil war.

427

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Tokyo government claims its homeless population has hit a record low, but analysts - and the homeless - beg to differ.
3D printers can cheaply construct homes and could soon be deployed to help victims of catastrophe rebuild their lives.
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
Featured
Booming global trade in 50-million-year-old amber stones is lucrative, controversial, and extremely dangerous.
Legendary Native-American High Bird was trained in ancient warrior traditions, which he employed in World War II.
Hounded opposition figure says he's hoping for the best at sodomy appeal but prepared to return to prison.
Fears of rising Islamophobia and racial profiling after two soldiers killed in separate incidents.
Group's culture of summary justice is back in Northern Ireland's spotlight after new sexual assault accusations.