Syrian opposition coalition formed without the SNC

Al-Akhbar is currently going through a transitional phase whereby the English website is available for Archival purposes only. All new content will be published in Arabic on the main website (www.al-akhbar.com).

Al-Akhbar Management

Published Saturday, March 17, 2012

Five Syrian opposition groups on Saturday announced the formation of a new coalition, a sign of growing opposition to the Western-backed Syrian National Council (SNC) a year after the start of the protest movement.

The five groups said their yet unnamed coalition would act independently from the SNC, the main opposition coalition which was set up in August.

The new group is made up of the liberal National Movement for Change, the Islamist Movement for the Fatherland, the Bloc for Liberation and Development, the Turkmen National Bloc, and the Kurdish Movement for a New Life.

Asked about relations between the new coalition and the SNC, Ammar al-Qurabi, leader of the National Movement for Change, told AFP his "coalition was not set up in opposition to anyone, other than Assad's regime, but rather to unite the opposition outside the SNC."

"We see the SNC as a temporary structure which will disappear with time, while our own coalition is a more long-term entity that will be there after liberation" in Syria, according to Imamuddin al-Rashid, head of the Movement for the Fatherland.

The SNC has emerged as one of the main voices of the opposition, but is often criticized by activists inside Syria who say the mostly exiled leadership has little connection to protesters on the ground.

The SNC was dealt a blow earlier this week when three prominent members resigned in frustration.

"There is a small group that wants to monopolize the SNC and all the decision-making," Kamal al-Labwani, one of those who quit, told AFP. "They are doing nothing for the opposition.

"Some are in it for personal gain and the Muslim Brotherhood is trying to monopolize aid and weapons to gain popular influence on the ground."

(AFP, Al-Akhbar)

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