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DAMASCUS: The opposition National Coalition said yesterday it will form a government to run “liberated areas” of Syria, as monitors said more than 12 people were killed when buildings collapsed in a missile strike on the city of Aleppo.
“We agreed to form a government to run the affairs of liberated areas,” Coalition spokesman Walid Al Bunni said after a meeting in Cairo, adding the opposition will meet on March 2 to decide on the composition of the government and choose its head.
Coalition members said the meeting would be held in Istanbul, while Bunni said it was hoped the government would be based in rebel-held territory of
The opposition umbrella group had been discussing a proposal by chairman Ahmed Moaz Al Khatib to hold direct talks with President Bashar Al Assad’s regime.
CAIRO: Syrian opposition leaders will meet in Istanbul on March 2 to choose a prime minister to head a provisional government that would operate in rebel-controlled areas of Syria, a coalition source said yesterday.
The move was aimed at halting a slide into chaos in regions captured by insurgent brigades and estimated to comprise over half of the country, although exiled coalition leaders exert little control or influence over rebels in Syria.
The date was set after a compromise was struck within the Syrian National Coalition between a bloc that includes the powerful Muslim Brotherhood and others who favour speedy formation of a government, the source told Reuters at the end of a two-day meeting of the coalition in Cairo.
“A compromise was reached. The coalition agreed to meet again in Istanbul exclusively to choose a prime minister.”
The source said the premier would then name a government but it was not clear if it could operate immediately from rebel zones given that President Bashar Al Assad’s forces still wield formidable air, artillery and missile power all over Syria.
Coalition leaders renewed their efforts to form the provisional government a day after insisting that any peace talks must result in the removal of Assad, whose family has ruled Syria with an iron fist for 42 years.
Almost two years after an anti-Assad uprising erupted, the absence of a political leadership from land under rebel control has been a glaring weakness of opposition leaders, who have no authority over Islamist brigades making advances on the ground.
“You have a situation developing where chaos reigns in liberated areas while, relatively, there is still fuel, electricity and basic services in the Assad-held regions,” diplomat in contact with the opposition said.
“If the situation persists like this popular support for the opposition will dwindle and they could lose the war.”
At least 12 people, including children, were killed and dozens wounded yesterday when three surface-to-surface missiles struck in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo district, a watchdog said.
“At least 12 bodies have been recovered so far and there are more than 50 people wounded,” Syrian Observatory for Human Rights director Rami Abdel Rahmansaid by phone.
The Britain-based Observatory said the number of victims was likely to rise, as many people were trapped under the rubble of collapsed buildings in the eastern district of Tariq Al Bab in the area of Ard Al Hamra.
In a video posted to YouTube, a billowing cloud of dense smoke was seen rising from the neighbourhood at dusk after one of the missiles struck.