World

Syrian Opposition Leader Resigns In Frustration

NPR | March 24, 2013 12:55 p.m.

Contributed By:

Melisa Goh

Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib took on the presidency of the Syrian National Council after it was formed in November.

Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib took on the presidency of the Syrian National Council after it was formed in November.

AP

The president of the Syrian National Coalition has resigned. Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib posted his resignation to Facebook, criticizing the international community for not doing enough to stem the two-year-long crisis:

“Everything that has happened to the Syrian people, from the destruction of their infrastructure, the arrest of tens of thousands of Syrians, the displacement of hundreds of thousands people, and other tragedies, were not enough to take an international decision to allow the Syrian people to defend themselves.”

Khatib said he was following through with a promise he made when he took on the job of president last November, to quit if “things reached some red lines.”

Though those lines went unspecified, his sudden resignation follows the selection of U.S. citizen and activist Ghassan Hitto to be prime minister of an interim opposition government earlier this week. That interim government has yet to be formed, but Khatib reportedly rejects the idea. The BBC’s Jim Muir notes:

“Mr al-Khatib was in principle against the idea of such an entity - which would further dim any hope for the surprise offer he launched at the end of January of dialogue with representatives of the regime.”

In his statement on Sunday, Khatib said vacating his post would allow him to “work freely,” with “the freedom that cannot be provided within the official institutions.”

Also opposed to the interim prime minister is the Free Syrian Army, which declared on Sunday that it would not recognize Hitto.

Both events are setbacks for the goal of uniting Syria’s opposition groups in the effort to topple President Bashar Assad, and dampen the announcement by the Arab League on Sunday that it would give Syria’s seat to a representative of the opposition.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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