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MIDEAST > Opposition 'receives training' in Istanbul

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News

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Members of the Free Syrian Army discuss strategies in Aleppo’s Saif al-Dawla district. Opposition activists receive training in a number of different fields, says a SNC member. REUTERS photo

Members of the Free Syrian Army discuss strategies in Aleppo’s Saif al-Dawla district. Opposition activists receive training in a number of different fields, says a SNC member. REUTERS photo

İpek Yezdani İpek Yezdani ipek.yezdani@hurriyet.com.tr

Syrian opposition activists are receiving training in a number of different fields in Istanbul, including using the vital equipment necessary in determining whether war crimes have been committed, a prominent member of the Syrian National Council (SNC), Fevzi Zakiroğlu, has said.

“We are constantly organizing this kind of training for the Syrian activists. The training is mostly given by Western experts coming from international organizations. This is not a secret,” Zakiroğlu told the Daily News yesterday.

Training in hotels

The British Daily Telegraph reported on Aug. 26 that an underground network of Syrian opposition activists was receiving training and supplies of vital equipment, in a combined American and British effort to forge an effective alternative to the Damascus regime.

“The training takes place in an Istanbul district where handsome apartment blocks line the steep slopes and rooftop terraces boast views over the Golden Horn waterway,” the newspaper said.

Zakiroğlu confirmed that training was indeed taking place in Istanbul, but that it was not given in houses or apartment blocks, but rather in hotels. Each training session lasts for about four or five days, he said.
“It is not just about how to use media materials, but also on legal issues such as how to determine whether war crimes have been committed in Syria,” he said.

Western experts

The training is mostly given by Western experts or journalists from international organizations, Zakiroğlu said. “Our last trainer was from Canada, for instance,” he said.

Zakiroğlu said it was not only the SNC that was organizing such training for opposition activists, but also that a number of other opposition groups were organizing their own training programs, also with the help of international organizations.

“Sometimes they ask us what names can be invited, and we help them in terms of finding the right people to invite,” he said.

August/28/2012

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