Syria rebels seek West aid for Homs as they gather in Istanbul to elect new president
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Main opposition SNC spokesman Shaleh says the fall of Homs would put any political solution in jeopardy. REUTERS PhotoSyria’s main opposition group, the Syrian National Coalition (SNC), has called on the international community to help, urging that the fall of Homs would put any political solution in jeopardy, as they gathered in Istanbul to elect a new president.
“The situation in Homs deteriorated tremendously last Sunday. This is why we told our partner countries - supportive of the revolution since its early days - that the fall of Homs would put any political solution in jeopardy,” Khaled Shaleh, a SNC spokesman, told reporters on the sidelines of the two-day meeting held by the coalition.
“We want the Friends of Syria to assure us that Homs will not fall,” Saleh said, adding that if it did they would have difficulty in persuading the Syrian people to accept the idea of negotiations with the regime for a political solution. Meanwhile, Syrian warplanes bombed the central city of Homs yesterday, with rebels and troops battling on the ground.
Idris to discuss Homs plans
General Salim Idris, the head of the rebel Free Syrian Army, will have a meeting with the fighter leaders in Istanbul within a week on how to regain power in Homs, according to a coalition member. Faraj Hamood, who works with the Syrian fighters on the ground, told the Hürriyet Daily News that he would return to Syria after meeting with Idris. He said he would deliver the Idris’ instructions to the fighters over how to gain power in Homs, and will also contact the leaders of the fighters over the transfer of the weapons. Hamood also said the situation in Homs was deteriorating. He said the fighters could regain Qusayr as soon as they get the weapons they need and have been promised by the Western powers. President Bashar al-Assad’s troops seized Qusayr with the help of Lebanese Hezbollah earlier last month.
Meanwhile, Yamen Walid al-Johari, a Syrian rebel commanding around 200 fighters near Daraa, said that they lacked weapons, food, medical aid, and shelter.
In its two-day meeting, the SNC is expected to elect a new president, vice president and a secretary general. The acting leader, George Sabra, senior opposition figures Louay Safi and Mustafa Sabbagh and Ahmad Assi Jarba, who is close to veteran dissident Michel Kilo, are some of candidate names for the new leadership. The SNC is also likely to discuss the prospects of a peace conference, widely named “Geneva 2.”