Abdel Basset Sayda (c), the leader of the Syrian National Council greets delegates at the meeting in Cairo. (AFP)
The meeting of the Syrian opposition in Cairo again has exposed the deep divisions between the different groups. The meeting of more than 200 participants from 30 different movements as well as independent figures, civil society groups and activists, failed to form a unified front against President Bashar al-Assad's regime. After two days of meetings hosted by the Arab League, the groups agreed broadly that any transition must exclude Assad and agreed to support the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA).
But the delegates were unified only in their conclusion that any solution has to start by the fall of the Assad-regime. They failed to form a united bloc that could act as a single point of contact for the international community.
The Action Group for Syria, a body representing world powers had asked for the formation of such a committee. Kofi Annan, the Arab League and UN special envoy, on Saturday.said: “The bloodshed must end, and the parties must be prepared to put forward effective interlocutors to work with me towards a Syrian-led settlement,”The BBC reported that a final statement read by opposition leader Kamal al-Labwani said that the delegates "agreed that the political solution has to start by the fall of the regime represented in Bashar al-Assad.'' In other documents plans were laid out for a transitional period, including an interim government and parliament, the way to reform the armed forces, the formation of a commission to investigate crimes against the Syrian people, the dissolution of the ruling Baath Party, whose members would be allowed to help run the country as long as they did not have "hands stained with blood". A second document said the new post-Assad Syria would have a "republican, democratic, civilian, pluralistic" system of government. However, disagreement remained over the powers to be granted to a committee that would act as a single point of contact for the international community, recalling Libya's National Transitional Council.
Before the final statement was read out on Tuesday, fistfights broke out and women wept when a Kurdish group stormed out, angry that the Kurds were not recognised as a minority within Syria. "We will not return to the conference and that is our final line. We are a people as we have language and religion and that is what defines a people," said Morshed Mashouk, a leading member of the Syrian Kurdish National Council. Also aan other group, the Syrian Revolution General Commission (SRGC), left the conference because of differences of opinion. The Free Syrian Army boycotted the meeting which it dubbed a 'conspiracy' to follow the agendas of Moscow and Tehran.