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Syria's opposition Council anticipated meet with SCAF in doubt, or limbo

Syria's newly appointed National Council met today in Stockholm with an European NGO to strategise their opposition to Al Bashar's regime instead of showing up in Cairo, as previously announced

Nada El-Kouny, Saturday 8 Oct 2011
protest against Bashar al-Assad after Friday prayers in Homs (Photo:Reuters)
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Views: 2163

The president of Syria's National Transitional Council, Borhan Ghalioun, was expected to visit Egypt on Saturday to hold talks with the Egyptian Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), according to sources who spoke to Al Jazeera.

However, AFP confirms that Ghalioun, along with 90 other members of the Syrian opposition, were in Stockholm on Saturday for a meeting with Europeans who could help them strategise their struggle against President Bashar Al-Assad.

The conference in Sweden was hosted by the Olof Palme International Center, a Swedish non-governmental organization that works on international development and labor issues.

The visit to Egypt was meant to be part of a regional and international tour to gain recognition for Syria’s recently-formed National Transitional Council, which mirrors Libya’s NTC.

It remains unclear whether another member of the National Council is currently meeting in Cairo with SCAF, or whether the whole arrangement has fell through.

In an effort to gain access to the meeting which was set to take place in Cairo today, Ahram Online spoke with Tha’er Al Nashek, a Syrian activist and opposition figure currently residing in Egypt.

Al Nashek, a member of a grouping of twelve opposition figures who works on the Support and Victory for the Syrian people initiative, shed light on the deeply fragmented opposition scene, starting with the fact that he did not receive confirmations on the exact status of Ghalioun’s visit.

Al Nashek said that he knows of two different stories why the meeting has stalled: either Egypt’s SCAF has not approved the visit or the meeting is to take place sometime later, albeit on a smaller scale, and with little press coverage.

He further added that he opposes the use of the term 'Transitional' or even 'National" in the Syrian Council's title.

“I and my colleagues do not consider ourselves a part of the council because we were not invited and we did not attend the Ankara meeting,” Al Nashek stated.

“The bigger problem is that the Council claims to be fully representative of all the different currents of the Syrian opposition, while they are far from being so."

"I consider them simply an alliance," he said.

Other experts have noted, as Al Nashek's comments implied, that Syrian opposition forces, which includes the Muslim Brotherhood, Kurdish and Assyrian parties, are neither unified nor organised enough to mount an effective campaign against Assad, especially at a time when the Syrian regime intensifies its bloody repression at home.

For one, President Bashar Al-Assad’s military continues its offensive against rebels, most recently killing Kurdish opposition leader, Mashaal Tammo on Friday. Moreover, the civilian death count has climbed over 3,000 people.

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