The main opposition coalition stood accused of having become an “accomplice” to the bloodshed in Syria as three prominent figures announced their resignations on Wednesday.
A Syrian National Council official, contacted by AFP, said Haitham al-Maleh, Kamal al-Labwani and rights activist Catherine al-Telli had quit due to their “disagreements” with the SNC.
Labwani, in the decisions announced on their Facebook pages, launched a scathing attack on the coalition formed last August in Istanbul to fight a political battle against the rule of President Bashar al-Assad.
He said they resigned because they did not want to be “accomplices to the massacre of the Syrian people through delaying, cheating, lies, one-upmanship and monopolisation of decision-making.”
The SNC, he charged, was “linked to foreign agendas which aim to prolong the battle while waiting … for the country to be dragged into a civil war.”
Maleh said he was quitting after the council’s executive had rejected his efforts to reform and unite opposition ranks, complaining its Paris-based head Burhan Ghalioun was “monopolising opinion.”
Lack of unity within the SNC has been one of the main arguments of Western countries to justify their reluctance to arm the rebel forces fighting the Syrian regime which has been faced by a year-long revolt.
Telli laid the blame for the SNC’s “inefficiency” on “certain personalities and political trends.”
The three figures who broke away had already last month announced the formation of a working group within the SNC to work for “the liberation of Syria,” accusing the bloc of failing to take concrete action.
The coalition of Assad’s Islamist, liberal and nationalist opponents has faced criticism for lacking coordination, for delaying its backing for rebel fighters to be armed and over the influence of its Muslim Brotherhood members.
Qatar, at the forefront of calls for Assad to stand down, has been urging world powers to recognise the SNC, which is made up of 230 members, almost 100 of whom live inside Syria, as the Syrian people’s “legitimate representative.”
SNC chief Ghalioun said on March 1 that his organisation wanted to organise weapons deliveries to the rebels and was uniting factions which have taken up arms against the regime.