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."
Several ports are in rebel hands and fighting has made travelling by road perilous.
Turkey's relations with Tehran have already been strained by stark differences over Syria. Ankara upped the ante last week, saying it backs the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen against Houthi militants supported by Iran.
According to the source,Pro-Houthi brigade has disintegrated Ad Dali, brigade commander Abdullah Dabaan has fled.
Abu Mohamad al-Golani, leader of the Nusra front said residents of the northwestern city of Idlib would be treated well by his fighters and other Islamic factions that captured it on Saturday.
"They pushed from the Hajar Aswad area," one witness said, adding that the violence was ongoing. Yarmouk has been caught between government forces and Syrian insurgent groups including al Qaeda's Nusra Front.
"The borders have been closed for traffic temporarily.. It's a precautionary move.. due to the violent events on the other side," the interior ministry said.
"Now is the time for the international community to insist on a better deal," he said in a televised statement in English.
The air strike hit Zintan, whose forces have sided with Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni's government against the rival administration set up by forces who took over Tripoli in the summer during factional fighting in Libya.
With talks to cinch a deal on the horizon according to Iran, France says there is not enough to go ahead for a deal just yet
Abdollahian and Ban spoke on the sidelines of an international conference in Kuwait aimed at addressing the humanitarian crisis in Syria, IRNA reported.
United Nations experts reported to the U.N. Security Council, thousands of people from some 100 countries in Syria and Iraq, there were also 6,500 in Afghanistan and hundreds more in Yemen, Libya, Pakistan and Somalia.
The operation by Saudi Arabia and other Sunni Muslim states is aimed at stopping the Houthis and former president Ali Abdullah Saleh winning control of the country and at reinstating Saudi-backed President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.
State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said in a statement, nuclear talks to merit staying until Wednesday.
The negotiators ended talks in the Swiss city of Lausanne in the early hours of Wednesday and said they would reconvene later in the day, with Iran and Russia expressing optimism that an initial agreement was within reach.
The Mazraq camp for displaced people near Haradh was struck on Monday, humanitarian workers said. Some 200 people were wounded, dozens of them seriously, the International Organization for Migration said.
Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah on Tuesday pledged $500 million in humanitarian aid to help ease the crisis in Syria.