The Straits Times
Published on Nov 12, 2012

Cleric elected head of new Syrian opposition bloc


DOHA (AFP) - Syrian opposition factions which agreed on Sunday in Qatar to form a new coalition to fight President Bashar al-Assad have elected cleric Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib to head the bloc, an AFP reporter said.

Mr Khatib, a moderate originally from Damascus who quit Syria three months ago, will lead the National Coalition of Forces of the Syrian Revolution and Opposition, formed after the Syrian National Council agreed to the new group.

Prominent dissident Riad Seif, who had tabled an initiative to unite the opposition, and female opposition figure Suhair al-Atassi, were elected as vice presidents of the coalition.

Mr Khatib and the recently-elected head of the SNC George Sabra signed the final draft of the agreement that forms the new coalition in a ceremony presided over by the Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem Al-Thani.