New opposition coalition gaining recognition in Syria

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The Syrian National Coalition, a new body that aims to unite the Syrian opposition, is slowly gaining recognition from groups in the country. The coalition was formed Sunday after a week of opposition meetings in Doha, capital of Qatar.

Opposition groups have been posting statements of support to its official Facebook page. The administrator of the official page posted that the National Coalition had so far received almost 100 statements of support, many of which have been published.

“We, at the coalition, consider these statements as political assets that we value more than anything else issued outside,” the Facebook post said.


The Military Revolutionary Council in Homs province, part of the Joint Military Command, voiced its support to the new initiative and its president, Moaz Khatib, adding that it hopes that “this united body will be the ship that will lead to the shores of freedom and safety.” The Revolutionary Military Council in Damascus called the coalition leaders “honest patriots.”

Some Kurdish groups of civilians backed the group, including a group of activists from the Kurdish town of Derike who expressed hope “that this coalition will gain the trust of all groups of Syrian people: Arabs, Kurds, Assyrians, Christians, and Muslims.”

But while the congratulations poured in on Facebook, some Syrians remained skeptical.

“They are doing the same as the Syrian National Council, looking for recognition abroad instead of focusing on the people inside,” said one activist who asked not to be identified by name.

Jeffrey White, a defense fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said he hadn’t seen a huge outpouring of support but hadn’t seen “real opposition” either. “Many are still formulating their stance,” White said.

The National Coalition should be treated as a newborn, wrote Hazem Nahar, a Syrian researcher at the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies, a Doha-based think tank. “We know that the newborn is highly susceptible to diseases and death. ... Our newborn, the National Coalition, needs a month before we know that it is not infected with any hereditary diseases from his mother, the Syrian opposition, or from the surrounding environment, different states,” Nahar wrote.


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