The opposition Syrian National Council begins a four-day meeting on Sunday in Doha, as the United States presses for the formation of a new Syrian opposition more representative of those fighting on the frontlines rather than exiles to bring down President Bashar Assad.
The meeting comes one day after Syrian opposition forces launched on Saturday what is considered to be a major assault on a northern airbase used to deploy the regime with air power.
The Doha meeting is seen as the most serious push yet to form a united front in which many figures from the Syrian opposition are taking part to help end the 20-month ciris that has killed over 33,000 people.
Talks have emerged about a new plan to reshape the opposition into a representative leadership, as U.S. officials have expressed disappointment with the SNC’s inability to create a consistent plan and its lack of agreement and cooperation with different internal groups.
But there are serious doubts whether the split and ideologically different factions can come together and create a unified front in which the international community can cooperate with.
Dissident Riad Seif is apparently being suggested by the US as the head of the new government in exile.
Seif was among more than 20 opposition leaders who gathered in Jordan on Thursday to hammer out proposals for a new leadership, according to BBC.
The key subject is whether the main political opposition group, the Syrian National Council, which is made up of academics and Syrian exiles, will accept a U.S.-backed offer to set up a new 50-member leadership team with more representatives from inside Syria.
Under the new plan, called the Syrian National Initiative, the new leadership would also include representatives of the rebels’ Free Syrian army, political groups and local councils in Syria, Al Jazeera reported.
Meanwhile the attack on the Taftanaz base on saturday, from where helicopter gunships raid opposition positions and rebel-held areas, comes after regime forces this week launched an unprecedented wave of air strikes in a bid to reverse rebel gains, according to Al Arabiya.
The Syrian Revolution General Commission, a network of activists on the ground, said an operation had begun “to liberate the Taftanaz airbase.”