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Syria opposition figure to 'lead government in exile': Reports

Haytham al-Maleh, Syrian opposition figure and a conservative Islamist, told reporters on Tuesday he was asked by 'independents' to form a government in exile in Cairo

AFP , Tuesday 31 Jul 2012
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Syrian opposition figure Haytham al-Maleh, Syrian lawyer, Democracy and human rights activist who has spent several years in prison in his homeland, told reporters on Tuesday that he has been tasked with forming a government in exile based in Cairo.

"I have been tasked with leading a transitional government," Maleh said, adding that he will begin consultations "with the opposition inside and outside" the country.

Maleh, a conservative Muslim, said he was named by a Syrian coalition of "independents with no political affiliation".

More than 20,000 people have been killed in Syria since a revolt against President Bashar al-Assad's rule began in March 2011, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. There is no way to independently verify the figure, while the UN has stopped keeping count.

There have been repeated calls on Assad to step down.

When that happens, "we don't want to find ourselves in a political or administrative vacuum… this phase calls for cooperation from all sides," he said.

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