BEIRUT

Middle East

Syrian opposition dissolves interim government

Rebel fighters from the Islamic Front, an umbrella of Islamist rebel groups in Syria, fire their weapons during clashes with government forces in the old city of Aleppo July 21, 2014. (AFP Photo/Ahmed Deeb)

BEIRUT: The Western-backed National Coalition of Syrian opposition members said Tuesday it had voted to force out its "interim government" and form a new one within a month.

Attempts to form a viable government-in-exile for Syria's opposition have been hamstrung by rivalries between its backers and among its members as well as by its inability to establish itself inside Syria.

The National Coalition is designated as the main body representing the opposition by the United States and other major powers but it has little influence over rebels fighting to overthrow President Bashar Assad.

The group said in a statement Tuesday it was dissolving its interim Cabinet to "create new ground for work on the basis of moving the government into the interior as soon as possible, and employing Syrian revolutionary capabilities."

The coalition's interim Prime Minister Ahmed Toumeh and other ministers would continue as caretakers until the new government was formed, it said. Nominations would be open for two weeks and a new government formed within 30 days.

The dissolution of the government comes two weeks after the group elected Hadi al-Bahra, a U.S.-trained industrial engineer, to replace its president, Ahmad Jarba, after he served his maximum two six-month terms.

Both Bahra and Jarba have close ties to Saudi Arabia, one of the main backers of the rebels trying to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Bahra had also been chief negotiator at U.S. and Russian-sponsored peace talks in Switzerland, which stalled after two rounds in January and February.

 

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