Syrian National Council Meets In Doha; Assad Denies Civil War In Syria

 @MayaErgas
on November 09 2012 8:18 PM
Bashar Assad
Syrian President Bashar Assad

The Syrian National Council, the political sibling of the Free Syrian Army, met on Friday in Doha, Qatar, to elect its leadership and attempt to establish some form of unity on the heels of reports about flagging support for the rebel cause in Syria.

The meeting was convened to elect an 11-member executive bureau: George Sabra, a Christian, was elected president, and Mohammed Faruq Tayfour, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood was elected vice president. The former head of the SNC, Abdulbaset Sida, stayed on as a member of the bureau, Al-Jazeera reported.

No women were elected to the council, Al-Jazeera's Dalal Mawad tweeted from Doha.

The council formed in October of last year, after the beginning of the Arab Spring, to serve as opposition to Syrian President Bashar Assad's Baathist party. The council has received recognition and support from most Western nations, including the U.S., the U.K., and France.

As the SNC met in Doha, Assad in Damascus continued to deny the country was in a state of civil war, and to deny that his government had committed any war crimes.

"We are fighting terrorism. We are implementing our constitution by protecting the Syrian people," Assad told the Russia-funded Russia Today in an interview broadcast on Friday. "My enemy is terrorism and instability in Syria. The problem is not between me and my people."

Assad went on to claim his government could finish the conflict "within weeks," if only the West would stop supporting the "terrorists." He added only "through the ballot boxes" would he agree to step down.

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