Syrian opposition leader resigns

Syrian opposition leader resigns
Bashar Assad

The leader of the Western-based Syrian opposition coalition has resigned, citing frustrations with the body’s ability to advance the fight against President Bashar Assad.

Mouaz al-Khatib said in a statement posted on his Facebook page that he would continue to serve the opposition’s cause outside of the “the official institutions”.

Al-Khatib was president of the Syrian National Coalition, which was formed last year to serve as the opposition’s official liaison with other countries and coordinate anti-Assad forces inside and outside of Syria.

Despite electing a new, US-educated prime minister last week, the coalition has failed to establish itself as the top rebel authority in Syria, where hundreds of independent rebel brigades are fighting a civil war against Assad’s forces.

“I am keeping my promise today and announcing my resignation from the National Coalition so that I can work with freedom that is not available inside the official institutions,” Al-Khatib said.

He also blamed world powers for providing inadequate support for the rebel cause and complained that many “international and regional parties” insisted on pushing the opposition toward dialogue with the regime.

Most opposition leaders and activists say Assad’s regime has killed too many people to be part of the conflict’s solution.

“All that has happened to the Syrian people – from destruction of infrastructure to the arrest of tens of thousands to the displacement of hundreds of thousands to other tragedies – is not enough for an international decision to allow the Syrian people to defend themselves,” the statement said.

The Coalition did not immediately respond to al-Khatib’s resignation.

Al-Khatib’s spokesman could not be reached for further comment, but al-Khatib has often used his personal Facebook page to release statements.

The Syrian government has largely ignored the opposition coalition and says the civil war is an international conspiracy to weaken Syria.

The UN says more than 70,000 people have been killed since the crisis began in March, 2011.

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