Syrian opposition seeks Qatar backing for transition government

Sun Jan 20, 2013 1:29pm EST
 
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Khaled Yacoub Oweis

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - The head of Syria's opposition coalition has flown to Qatar to secure promises of financial aid for a transitional government in rebel-held areas, sources at negotiations in Istanbul said on Sunday.

The talks on agreeing a transitional government had been hit by disagreement over whether a transitional government could survive when the Syrian National Coalition President Moaz Alkhatib left in the middle of deliberations, the sources said.

"It seems that there won't be a government unless Sheikh Moaz comes back from Qatar with enough to convince enough members of the coalition that any government they set up will be viable," said one coalition member who did not want to be named.

The talks launched Saturday are the opposition's second bid to form a transitional government, with its credibility at stake as the country slides into sectarian conflict between majority Sunnis and President Bashar al-Assad's minority Alawite sect.

The Syrian opposition is set for more talks in Paris on January 28, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told radio station Europe 1.

The 70-member coalition, dominated by Islamists and their allies, was formed with Western and Gulf backing in Qatar at the beginning of December. Power struggles among its members have undermining efforts to agree a transitional government.

The United Nations says 60,000 people have been killed in the almost two-year revolt against Assad. A collapse of the country could draw in rival powers in a region where the Sunni-Shi'ite faultline has deepened since the Arab Spring revolts began in Tunisia two years ago.

Some coalition members doubt a transitional government is viable yet.   Continued...

 
Fighters from Fateh al Sham unit of the Free Syrian Army enter a house in Haresta neighbourhood of Damascus January 20, 2013. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic