More than 200 Syrian opposition figures have met on Saturday near Damascus in an effort to unite anti-government groups. The meeting was held at a private farm outside the capital. No arrests were made, although the opposition figures who attended were monitored by security officials. Saturday's meeting comes two days after opposition parties in exile formed the Syrian National Council in Turkey.
Dr Samir Aita, an opposition figure living abroad who attended the Damascus meeting, said the event was significant. "The importance of this meeting lies in the fact that it is happening in Damascus, on Syrian soil, in support of the protesters despite all the security difficulties," he said. Most of those present were politician who at one rime or other in the past had been arrested or in prison.Representatives of the protesters did not attend, fearing arrest, but they supported the meeting and their demands were read out.
At Thursday's meeting in Istanbul, members of Syria's opposition groups chose 140 people to form a "national council". Half of those selected are in Syria, with the remainder drawn from opposition figures in Syria's disapora.The idea behind it is to give the oppsoition 'a face' and to coordinate opposition efforts. The Syrian oppostion has always been extremely divided.