Last updated: 27 March, 2012

Syria opposition names SNC as sole representative

Syria’s opposition factions agreed Tuesday to name the Syrian National Council as their representative, calling on President Bashar al-Assad to pull out tanks to show he was serious about peace.

“The conference decided that the SNC is the formal interlocutor and formal representative of the Syrian people,” said a statement read out to journalists at the end of a two-day meeting in Istanbul by Syria’s opposition groups.

The meeting had “agreed upon a statement… pledging for a restructuring of the SNC and decided to form a preparatory commission to write down a new law for the SNC,” read the statement.

Most of the opposition factions present signed the statement except for a few representatives of Kurdish factions upset over the absence of a reference to a settlement for Kurdish Syrians.

Some factions were absent from the meeting.

The factions also called for Assad to prove he was serious about accepting a proposal crafted by UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan to end the bloodshed that activists say has killed almost 10,000 people in a year.

“We don’t trust that regime,” opposition leader Waid al-Buni told reporters.

“If he is really serious he must apply this initiative tomorrow. Tomorrow there must not be any tanks in the streets and the Syrian regime militaries should be withdrawn.

“Tomorrow, the Syrian people must be capable of taking the streets by millions. So tomorrow we will see if the regime is really honest.”

The announcement came after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged the factions to join forces and present a “unified vision” at a Friends of Syria meeting on Sunday in Istanbul.

“We will be pushing them very hard to present such a vision in Istanbul,” Clinton said amid intensified diplomatic efforts to halt the year-long bloodshed in the country.