BEIRUT: A leading figure from the opposition-in-exile National Coalition denied Sunday that a new opposition group was being formed, blaming the news on a Facebook page claiming to speak in his name.
Haitham Maleh, a longtime dissident, said the false page had spread the news he was working on a new group with sounder representation of opposition currents. Observers say disappointment with the coalition’s performance has given rise to the reports, along with behind-the-scenes jockeying over the direction of the coalition with President Ahmad Jarba’s term expiring next month.
Louay Safi, a coalition spokesman, commented on the reports Friday, saying he believed any talk of a new opposition body “was still in its infancy.”
Speculation has risen in the wake of last week’s re-election of Syrian President Bashar Assad that significant political developments are on the way – whether in the ranks of the opposition, or the regime’s approach to co-opting opposition figures in a new, postelection Cabinet.
The former head of the coalition, Ahmad Moaz Khatib, told a pro-opposition website Sunday that he had no interest in joining a rumored transitional” government that would be shortly announced by Damascus.
“There has been absolutely no talk of such a thing,” he said. “There is no way to participate in the government of a regime that is bombing civilian neighborhoods and killing our people every day.”