Moves to form opposition to Assad's regime look set to end in failure
Moves to form a credible alternative to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime look set to end in failure, with the main opposition bloc refusing to endorse a broad-based government in waiting or contribute to how it might take shape.
The Syrian National Council, supported by opponents of Assad earlier in the uprising and more recently derided, continued to stall over a response to the formation of an umbrella group that aims to forge stronger alliances with groups inside Syria.
At risk of being sidelined by its former key backers, the SNC had used a week-long summit in the Qatari capital, Doha, to fight a rearguard action, which shored up its position in any new group and conveyed an image that it was reinventing itself, the Guardian reports.
The SNC nominated a new leader, an exiled member of Syria's Christian minority, George Sabra, who called for the international community to resume funding the organisation and not link support to an opposition revamp, the report said.
"Unfortunately we get nothing from them, except some statements, some encouragement", while Assad's allies "give the regime everything," Sabra said.
According to the report, with the crisis in Syria worsening over the past 15 months, the SNC has declined in relevance and standing.
It is viewed with contempt by Syria's armed factions and by large numbers of the growing refugee community, the report said.
A consensus within both groups is that the SNC has squandered numerous chances to convince those Syrians not wedded to the Assad regime that they have a viable alternative, it added.
Organisers, particularly Qatar and the US, had hoped for the formation of a body that could build bridges to groups inside Syria and channel aid money to them, it report said.
According to the report, the US and senior Arab League officials had signalled they would recognise any new body that could bring together disparate factions. It had suggested that aid money would again start to flow.
Apparently reluctant to yield the power it has held over such channels, the SNC announced a new leadership lineup. Reaction to it was underwhelming, it added.