World Bulletin / News Desk
Organisers of a conference aimed at uniting the divided Syrian opposition said on Thursday it had been postponed until they can agree on fair representation of disparate groups.
The conference, which had been scheduled for Qatar from Oct. 15 to 17, was intended to reorganise the Syrian National Council, the main opposition bloc, and inject new blood into the organisation, which has struggled to win credibility as a democratic alternative to President Bashar al-Assad.
"The conference has been postponed for a maximum of 10 days. It will be a large gathering and we have to be prepared and come up with balances between the different groups," veteran opposition figure George Sabra, one of a minority of secular figures in the Council, told Reuters.
Sabra, speaking from Paris, is an ally of Riad al-Turk, the influential "grand old man" of the revolt who operates underground in Syria.
Another source directly involved in organising the conference said it aimed to bring 450 delegates under the Syrian National Council umbrella compared with 313 now, boosting representation of grassroots activists and women.
"The Muslim Brotherhood may end up having less than half of the delegates after the conference," he said, adding that the SNC executive committee would be increased from 12 to 25 and the executive assembly from 50 to 60.
But the source, a Council official who did not want to be named, said Burhan Ghalioun, a former Council head who was forced to resign in May, could return as president.
"Ghalioun has strong backing from Qatar, which is a big deal and may return him as president," the source said.
In Paris, French Foreign minister Laurent Fabius said: "We want the opposition to unite. There will soon be a meeting in Doha and I met the SNC leader two days ago and I insisted on the need for union of all opponents as quickly as possible."
The current Council president, Abdulbaset Sieda, said on Wednesday that reorganisation of the Council would precede crucial talks in the Qatari capital Doha with other opponents of Assad aimed at creating a Syrian transitional government.
But diplomats said the rift was widening between the Council and rebel forces inside Syria who have been gaining more territory in recent months.
"The external-based opposition has not gotten its act together till now," an Arab diplomat said. "The rebel commander who will seize the presidential palace in Damascus is going to have the most say in the future Syria."
Both Kerry and Lavrov have "agreed on new measures to be taken by Moscow and Washington", to stop the onslaught in Syria
Iran's Minister for Industry, Mining and Trade has said that as part of expanding economic relations, entry into the auto industry will be a win win for both countries
Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed has met both government and rebel delegations in a bid to find a swift resolution to the dispute over the rebels' seizure of the Al-Amaliqa base despite an April 11 ceasefire
Raqqa in Syria has been targeted in another strike however there is no word on was behind the attacks
Criticism follows raids on labor union building in Cairo and arrest of journalists
Conversation follows US, Russia agreement on new short-term truce for parts in Syria
US Secretary of State says the Syrian crisis is 'deeply disturbing to everybody in the world'
Park Geun-Hye in Tehran as the first South Korean president to visit Iran since the two countries established diplomatic relations
Two leaders discuss latest regional developments, express hope for stepped-up bilateral ties
Response to ISIL rocket attacks on Kilis, southern Turkey, targets terror group's facilities in northern Aleppo
'We're getting closer to a place of understanding, but we have some work to do, and that's why we're here,' US Secretary of State says
Interior ministry denies police stormed union building but confirms arrest of two opposition-linked journalists.
A new allow passed in Iran will allow for the granting of Iranian citizenship for those who dies while fighting for Iran
Air strikes on opposition-held east Aleppo hit in the early hours of Monday with no immediate reports of casualties
'For the first time we have 18 women in parliament, and it is a record that makes us very happy,' Iranian president says
'We have decided to suspend direct talks with the rebels to protest continuing violations of the ceasefire,' a Yemeni government official says