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Syrian opposition finds new leader in Sweden

Syrian opposition finds new leader in Sweden

Published: 11 Jun 2012 08:51 GMT+02:00
Updated: 11 Jun 2012 08:51 GMT+02:00

A Kurdish-Syrian academic who has lived in exile in Sweden since the 1990s was elected president of the opposition Syrian National Council (SNC) at the weekend, and promptly hinted that the group may formally request military assistance.

"That the SNC may ask for military intervention hasn't been ruled out," Abdulbaset Sieda told the TT news agency from Istanbul, Turkey, where the SNC is based.

Sieda, who lives in Uppsala in eastern Sweden, was elected to lead the SNC, succeeding Burhan Ghalioun, who led the opposition coalition since its formation in August 2011.

Born in a most Kurdish region of northern Syria in 1956, Sieda holds a PhD from the University of Damascus and taught for three years in Libya before going into exile in Sweden.

Sieda hopes to unite the fractious coalition in order to "utilize its full capacity" he told TT.

"Today everything is in a centralized executive committee which I think is wrong," he said.

He also urged the Syrian diaspora to participate in putting pressure on the regime of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.

"I'm calling upon all the Syrian expatriate community to organize sit-ins before their Syrian embassies," he said on Sunday, according to Voice of American news.

According to Sieda, the SNC has little choice but to support the peace plan put forward by former UN head Kofi Annan, despite criticism of the plan.

"The problem is that there isn't any alternative. So we must support this plan, but we must also be aware that it isn't enough," he told TT.

Asking the international community to use force under Chapter Seven of the UN charter is also under consideration, however.

"That's also one of the options; I think we need to show the regime in Syria that all options are on the table. We haven't yet requested military action, but the regime must understand that we can use it if we think they are going to continue with the massacres."

Despite continued violence from the al-Assad, Sieda nevertheless believes the regime is losing its grip, which in part explains the killings.

"The regime is carrying out these massacres to frighten the people in Syria," he said.

Prior to his election as SNC leader, Sieda served as a member of the group's steering committee, a capacity in which he attended a Syrian opposition conference held in Stockholm in October 2011.

The Local/TT/dl

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Your comments about this article

10:25 June 11, 2012 by NyDag
Right ... so what's this got to do with Sweden?
11:33 June 11, 2012 by robban70226
so much talk talking about the opposition, why don't we show a clear objective information about both sides?? it is obvious by now that the opposition are hardly saints, otherwise they will be united and the current government overpower, there is a lot of partial information about what is really going on there, too much propaganda against the current government and only half trues about the so called opposition group that nobody appears to clearly explain who are them and what are they after, a civil war will unfortunately can occur and split the country in parts, that story will never end like India and Pakistan, too many power hungry people trying to manipulate the populate living in their ignorance.. sad case
20:36 June 11, 2012 by peaceline3
Diaspora political involvement in their homeland will not be succeeded because local people have negative attitude towards diaspora particularly islamic countries, but will see if he can make change. most diaspora politicians they involved the crisis when they need power and not presence time people need prevention conflicts,reconciliation and rebuilding their countries. if they failed to gain power then they will return to western countries. we learned this Afghanistan, Irak, somalia and libiya.
01:11 June 12, 2012 by J Jack
what is diaspora? excuse me but i would help me to understand the comments, considering the the term was used only one in the original article without any clarification.
18:36 June 12, 2012 by Tarc the Mexan
#4: did Google break or something?

noun

(the diaspora)

the dispersion of the Jews beyond Israel.

Jews living outside Israel.

the dispersion or spread of any people from their original homeland:
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