Syria opposition seeks unity
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Burhan Ghalioun, heads the SNC, which will meet in Istanbul this week.Syrian dissidents will convene this week in Istanbul to unite the country’s opposition amid calls from Ankara for them to overcome differences and agree on a coherent strategy ahead of the April 1 Friends of Syria group meeting.
A three-page draft statement as a “national pact of all Syrian fractions” will be discussed during the meeting on March 25 or 26, a Syrian dissident said. “Our priority would be the adoption of a national consensus document outlining the opposition’s political mission for the future of Syria,” Abdulahad Astepho, a member of the Syrian National Council Executive Committee from the Assyrian Democratic Organization, told the Hürriyet Daily News yesterday.
The council has been plagued by internal disagreements and faces disagreement on who should attend the Istanbul meeting, increasing doubts about its ability to overcome deep divisions among Syrian opposition. Every faction of the Syrian opposition, including “the ones in Syria and outside the [council]” that agree that Bashar al-Assad should step down, would be invited to the gathering, Astepho said.
Asked if the council would call on them to unify under their organization, he said: “They are welcome. Our doors are open. [Our] priority is national consensus rather than unifying the opposition.” “The Syrian opposition will be called to unite under the umbrella of the SNC,” another representative said.“This will be the last chance for us,” council member Mahmoud Osman told the Daily News. The groups want to discuss “different views and concerns” among the Syrian opposition during the Istanbul meeting, Osman said.