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Middle East

Syrian opposition agrees on restructure

Overhaul of Syrian National Council makes room for extra members and minorities.
Last modified: 5 Nov 2012 21:41
Riad Seif (centre) talks with fellow participants ahead of the Syrian National Council meeting in Doha [AFP]

The Syrian National Council agreed to expand and to restructure.

On Tuesday the SNC will hold an official ceremony to announce that it now consists of 420 members. Twenty per cent of the seats will be allocated to revolutionary groups and youth, and more than 15 per cent to women.

The new comers are said to be various political blocs and figures from inside and outside Syria. There are also new Christian groups as well as ethnic Turkmen.

All sounds good for the SNC but the fact is that the SNC is fighting for its survival.

There is a new initiative that is backed by the US, France, Britain and Turkey, as well as the Gulf States and others.

The man behind the Syrian National Initiative is Riad Seif who is member of the SNC. He is proposing to establish a new body of 50 members who will form 4 bodies including a unified military council and a transitional government.

The SNC will be represented in that proposed council with 15 members but it will lose its grip on the decision making process.

Some members of the SNC are saying this is an attempt to bypass the SNC and create a replacement for it.

So, it is very confused picture that will start to clear up over the next few days.

What's also interesting is that Riad Seif seemed confident that his initiative will be implemented. When I told him that the SNC says his initiative means suicide of the SNC, he said; "Syria and its revolution is above all."

A final interesting point made by those who oppose the initiative is that it is aimed at ending the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist groups over the SNC.

These figures say the whole idea behind the initiative is being cooked up by US ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford. They are even calling it the “Ford Sword,” not Riad Seif's initiative.