Leader of Syria′s main opposition group to resign | News | DW | 17.05.2012
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Leader of Syria's main opposition group to resign

The head of Syria's umbrella opposition body, the Syrian National Council, has offered his resignation. Burhan Ghalioun had faced criticism over his leadership of the group amid fierce infighting.

The leader of the Syrian National Council (SNC) announced on Thursday that he would resign once a replacement was found after his recent re-election was met with fierce criticism.

"I will not allow myself to be the candidate of division.... I am putting my resignation on the table," Burhan Ghalioun said in a statement from Paris.

Ghalioun won an internal vote for a third term as the head of Syria's main opposition council just two days ago. But his leadership was questioned by several senior council members within the splintered umbrella group which have been plagued by bitter infighting since its creation in August last year.

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A key activist group threatened to suspend its membership of the SNC this week in protest against the direction the group was taking.

The SNC was "moving away from the spirit of the Syrian revolution and democratic demands," the Local Coordination Committees, a network of activists based both inside and outside of Syria, said in a statement.

Ghalioun has led the opposition in exile since the SNC was formed in August last year. Since then, however, its leaders have tried with little success to gather the opposition under its umbrella.

Despite appeals from its international backers the group has so far failed to win recognition as a united front against Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.

In March the United Nations estimated that violence in Syria had killed more than 9,000 people since the uprising against Assad's regime began 14 months ago.

ccp/msh (AP, Reuters, dpa)

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