The Straits Times
Published on Nov 12, 2012

Syria opposition unites as Israel fires warning shots


DOHA (AFP) - Syria's opposition agreed on Sunday to unite against Bashar al-Assad and elected a moderate cleric as its first leader, as Israel fired warning shots into the war-torn country after mortar fire hit the Golan.

After four days of marathon talks in Qatar, the Syrian National Council (SNC) finally signed up to a wider, more representative bloc centred on a government-in-waiting, as demanded by Arab and Western states.

Muslim cleric Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib, 52, a Damascus moderate who quit Syria three months ago, was elected head of the new grouping, with prominent dissident Riad Seif and female opposition figure Suhair al-Atassi chosen his deputies.

The Israeli warning shot across the United Nations-monitored ceasefire line between Syria and the occupied Golan Heights came after a mortar round fired from the Syrian side hit an Israeli position.