Last updated: 30 August, 2017

Syrian ex-Prime Minister in opposition talks with Ankara

Syria’s former prime minister Riad Hijab met Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Monday to discuss efforts to restructure the fragmented Syrian opposition, a diplomatic source told AFP.

“The ways to address the Syrian crisis and a reorganisation among the Syrian opposition ranks were discussed,” in the meeting, the source said on condition of anonymity.

The deteriorating humanitarian situation in Syria was also addressed, the same source added.

Hijab defected from President Bashar al-Assad’s regime on August 5 after just two months in the post.

He has been in contact with Turkish leaders and met some of them in September in Istanbul to exchange views on resolving the Syrian conflict, the source noted.

Turkey extends logistical support to the Syrian political and armed opposition which have operational bases inside the country. It also hosts over 100,000 Syrian refugees who have fled across the border.

Hijab and Davutoglu’s meeting came after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton criticised the main opposition Syrian National Council for no longer being able to remain “the visible leader of the opposition”.

“There needs to be an opposition that can speak to every segment and every geographic part of Syria,” Clinton said, calling for a strong structure to represent all Syrians.

The SNC launched on Sunday a four-day meeting in Doha to seek ways to broaden its representation to every segment in Syria.

The Syrian conflict erupted in March 2011 when Damascus army moved to crush pro-reform protests, triggering an armed uprising that has taken 36,000 lives, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.