BEIRUT

Middle East

Syria opposition re-elects Jarba as leader

Syrian opposition leader Ahmed Jarba (R) walks alongside French President Francois Hollande (L) after a meeting in the Saudi capital Riyadh on December 29, 2013. AFP PHOTO/POOL/KENZO TRIBOUILLARD

BEIRUT: Syria's main opposition National Coalition re-elected Ahmad Jarba as its leader during a general assembly meeting in Istanbul on Sunday, the coalition said in a statement.

Jarba won 65 votes, beating his only rival Riad Hijab -- the best-known defector from the regime of President Bashar al-Assad -- by 13 votes.

Jarba, who is seen as close to key rebel backer Saudi Arabia, was first elected to head the Coalition in July, and will now lead the group for another six months.

His re-election comes at a sensitive time, less than three weeks away from slated peace talks in Switzerland that would bring rebels and regime representatives to the table.

The Coalition is set to discuss on Monday whether to take part in the peace talks, though a key bloc -- the Syrian National Council -- has already announced it will boycott the so-called Geneva 2 process.

That has raised fears the Coalition may end up rejecting the talks altogether. According to council member and veteran dissident Samir Nashar, "Ahmad Jarba does not want to go to Geneva."

The Coalition initially announced the names of three members chosen to share the vice presidency, but later said ther would be a fresh vote Monday for both that post and to elect a secretary general.

It was expected that either powerful, Qatar-linked businessman Mustafa al-Sabbagh or the current post-holder, Badr Jamous would be named to the latter post.

Born in 1969 in the northeastern city of Qamishli, on the border with Turkey, Jarba is a Sunni Muslim who has tried to convince Arab and Western nations to arm the rebels.

In his six months as Coalition leader, he has appeared more subdued than previous opposition chiefs who had higher profiles as veteran dissidents.

Jarba's re-election comes deep into a crisis within the main opposition group, which is based outside Syria.

Many opponents and rebels on the ground feel the Coalition has failed to represent them.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on January 06, 2014, on page 1.

Recommended

Advertisement

Comments

Your feedback is important to us!

We invite all our readers to share with us their views and comments about this article.

Disclaimer: Comments submitted by third parties on this site are the sole responsibility of the individual(s) whose content is submitted. The Daily Star accepts no responsibility for the content of comment(s), including, without limitation, any error, omission or inaccuracy therein. Please note that your email address will NOT appear on the site.

Alert: If you are facing problems with posting comments, please note that you must verify your email with Disqus prior to posting a comment. follow this link to make sure your account meets the requirements. (http://bit.ly/vDisqus)

comments powered by Disqus

Advertisement

FOLLOW THIS ARTICLE

Interested in knowing more about this story?

Click here