Syria dissidents meet to forge new opposition alliance
CAIRO - Agence France-Presse
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry (C), Secretary General of the Arab League Nabil al-Arabi (6th-R) and the Head of the Arab Parliament, Ahmad al-Jarwan (4th-R) observe a minute of silence for the victims of the conflict in Syria on June 8, 2015 in the Egyptian capital, Cairo during a two-day meeting with Syrian opposition representatives aiming at forming a new coalition as an alternative to an exiled Western-back alliance. Some 150 delegates attend the meeting in a bid to forge a new, broSyrian opposition representatives met in Cairo on June 8 in a bid to forge a new, broader alliance against President Bashar Al-Assad’s regime and agree on a roadmap for ending the conflict.
The new grouping would offer an alternative to the National Coalition, the exiled opposition bloc that is widely recognized and supported by Arab and Western governments, organizers said.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry addressed the opening session of the two-day meeting, which was attended by some 150 delegates, an AFP correspondent reported.
The conference “is just a starting point, we will work together to get your message and your vision for a political solution through to Syria and also to the world,” he said.
The attendees include representatives of the National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change (NCCDC) - an opposition group tolerated by Syrian authorities.
The National Coalition was not officially represented but some members of the group were attending in a personal capacity.
Kurdish leaders and representatives of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) - the so-called moderate armed rebels backed by Saudi Arabia and Washington - were also in attendance, as were several independent figures.
“The international community needs to pressure Assad’s regime and all parties to commit to a political solution,” Haytham Manna, a veteran opposition figure and a key organizer of the event, told AFP.
Organizers have said the new alliance would be distinct from the National Coalition and ready to hold talks with representatives of Assad’s regime on the formation of a transitional government.
The Syrian conflict has killed more than 220,000 people, uprooted half the population and left the country in ruins since it erupted as a peaceful protest movement in March 2011.