Syrian activists to form opposition council

A US-based academic, told a news agency that a group of activists will announce a 130-member council.

Istanbul: A Syrian activist said a group of opposition members are set to announce a national council on Thursday in their bid to present a united front against President Bashar Assad`s regime.

Louay Safi, a US-based academic, told a news agency that a group of activists will announce a 130-member council, made up of 60 exiled opponents and 70 dissidents inside Syria.

Members of the group have been meeting in neighbouring Turkey in an attempt to form a unified platform, although not everyone among Syria`s opposition, fragmented by ideology and mistrust, supports their initiative.

Safi says the Council is broad-based and includes Sunnis, Shiites, Alawites, Kurds and members of the Muslim Brotherhood. It is "open to everyone unless they are against democracy," he said.

Meanwhile, French Foreign Ministry spokeman Bernard Valero said Syrian opposition members are meeting in Paris with French officials on Thursday and Friday, though he did not identify the figures or elaborate on the meetings.

Syrian opposition members in Istanbul said they were in contact with France but had no scheduled talks with French officials this week.

Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said recently that France, Syria`s onetime colonial ruler, will develop its contacts with Syria`s opposition in a new effort to pressure President Bashar Assad`s regime.

The United Nations estimates that some 2,600 people have been killed in Syria`s crackdown on protests that erupted in mid-March.

Bureau Report
Louay Safi, a US-based academic, told a news agency that a group of activists will announce a 130-member council

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