| 16.09,11. 03:14 AM |
Syria Opposition Announces Names of 'National Council' Members
Members of the Syrian opposition meeting in Istanbul on Thursday announced a list of 140 dissidents forming a "national council" they established in August.
The council aims to coordinate the opposition's policies against the Syrian leadership.
Sixty percent of the members live in Syria, while the remainder are in exile, Abdul Basset Sidah, a council member, told a press conference.
The organizers disclosed only 72 names of council members and kept the rest confidential for what they said were security reasons.
Revolutionary youth represents more than half of the council, Ahmed Ramadan, another council member, added.
"After completing the first level of consultative meetings, groups of revolutionary youth, political movements and personalities, activists and technocrats decided to found the Syrian National Council," a spokeswoman, Basma Qadani, said.
Yasser Tabbarah, another member, said the council had not yet elected a president. "We are in a democratic process. This is an inaugural meeting," he told Agence France Presse.
Canada, the Netherlands, Japan and Sudan sent diplomats as observers to the press conference, council member Obeida Nahas, said.
"The first principle of the council is our commitment to topple the regime," Tabbarah said, adding that they are loyal to the "peaceful nature of the revolution," and "the unity of Syria", while they are against any foreign intervention in their country.
"As the first step, revolutionaries of Syria want us (the council) to handle the international relations of the revolution," Tabbarah said, even though the council is not yet "officially representing the revolution".
The council, which was to convene later Thursday, is expected to decide to meet soon with representatives of European, Arab and Turkish governments, as well as international organizations such as the United Nations and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Tabbarah said.
Ramadan also said they plan to launch a satellite TV channel to give voice to Syrian people's demands.
Since March, the Syrian government's bloody crackdown on anti-regime protests has killed 2,600 Syrians, mostly civilians, according to the U.N.
The regime blames the violence on “armed terrorist gangs” backed by foreign agitators.