Syrian opposition to meet to discuss US-Russia peace initiative
The Syrian opposition announced it will meet on 23 May in Istanbul to discuss the possibility of joining the US-Russia conference aimed at ending the Syrian conflict, Reuters reported.
A general assembly of the Islamist-dominated coalition will elect a new head and decide on the future of the current Prime Minister Ghassan Hitto, who has been criticised for close ties with opposition figures.
In an attempt to broaden the appeal of the coalition, Hitto could be ousted for Ahmad Tomaa Kheder, an indpendent Islamist from eastern Syria. According to reports, he worked closely with peaceful opposition activists before the war in Syria broke out.
“Everything will be decided in the general assembly meeting,” one coalition official told Reuters.
“The meeting will decide on accepting the nomination of Kheder, although Hitto is trying to hang on,” another coalition source said.
The coalition has suffered a number of setbacks since its creation, with president Moaz Alkhatib resigning from the role in March.
The US and Russia are keen to hold talks this month, in an attempt to find a peaceful resolution to the conflict that has killed at least 70,000 people since March 2011.