SNC opens its first office in Istanbul
İpek Yezdani ISTANBUL
AFP PhotoThe Syrian National Council (SNC) has opened its first headquarters in Istanbul. “We are preparing for an official opening sometime next week,” said Halid Hoca, a high-ranking member of the SNC, to Hürriyet Daily News yesterday.
Paris-based SNC leader Burhan Galioun and other members of the executive committee are expected to attend the opening. The SNC, the biggest umbrella group of the Syrian dissidents, was established in Istanbul in September this year with a membership of over 260.
SNC members have been organizing meetings in different Turkish cities for the last six months. The Syrian National Council, the country’s largest and most representative opposition grouping, in November requested Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu to open an office in Istanbul.
The first headquarters of the office are located in an area close to the Atatürk Airport in Istanbul. Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, who has been battling eight months of protests against his rule, faces street demonstrations, increased armed opposition, deepening international isolation and an economic crisis triggered by the unrest aggravated by economic sanctions. The United Nations says more than 5,000 people have been killed in the Syrian regime’s crackdown on democracy protests since mid-March.