Ghalioun visits Idlib with the help of rebels

Ghalioun visits Idlib with the help of rebels

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Ghalioun visits Idlib with the help of rebels

Syrian National Council leader Burhan Ghalioun ( C ) poses with Syrian free army in Sarmada, near the Turkey-Syria border June 26, 2012. REUTERS/ABDO

Burhan Ghalioun, the former chief of Syria’s main opposition group, the Syrian National Council (SNC), has visited the country’s Idlib province with the help of members of the opposition Free Syrian Army (FSA), a prominent member of the SNC told the Hürriyet Daily News Wednesday.

Footage showing Ghalioun visiting the Syrian rebels and getting into a car with a Syrian flag on it was broadcast on YouTube.

Ghalioun said he visited Syria for a few hours to “boost the morale” of rebels, Agence France-Presse reported Tuesday. After his first visit to Syria in more than two years, Ghalioun said he entered the country secretly, spending a few hours there during which he “met with rebels.”

“The visit was aimed at boosting the morale of rebels” who are fighting the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Ghalioun said after returning to neighboring Turkey.

Ghalioun visited “several regions in Idlib province” in northwest Syria near the border with Turkey, a prominent member of the SNC said, speaking on condition of anonymity. Ghalioun entered Syria secretly through Turkey with the help of FSA members, the SNC member said.

Ghalioun resigned in May to avert divisions within the opposition bloc, after activists on the ground accused him of monopolizing power.

Earlier this month, the SNC named Kurdish activist Abdel Basset Sayda to replace Ghalioun in a bid to gain broader appeal that could embrace all groups.