Syrian opposition to meet in Istanbul this week

PARIS — The Syrian National Council, a coalition of opponents to President Bashar al-Assad’s regime is to meet this weekend in Istanbul in a bid to unify the fragmented movement, a spokeswoman said Tuesday.

By (AFP)

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Published: Tue 27 Sep 2011, 7:47 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 9:43 AM

“We will meet on October 1 and 2, in principle in Istanbul,” SNC spokeswoman Bassma Kodmani told AFP.

“Then we will talk about setting up committees” within the council.

The Syrian National Council was set up in August and consists of 140 people, half of whom live in Syria. The names of council members in Syria have not been released for security reasons, the council said.

It includes members of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, which is banned in Syria, as well as liberals and Syrian notables.

Paris and Washington have welcomed the formation of the SNC.

“When the council’s composition is announced, it will still be open for other movements to join,” Kodmani said when the council was formed.

“All our efforts now are not to appear as a movement that wants to eliminate others, we’re trying to offer a national framework.”

Opposition movements behind protests against Assad’s regime raging since March have been fragmented and difficult to measure. They are largely split along three lines: Arab nationalists, liberals, and Islamists.

The United Nations says Assad’s bloody crackdown on protests has left more than 2,700 dead and tens of thousands detained or missing since mid-March.

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