Rebel Syrian National Coalition Admits Liberal Bloc

Deal Well Short of Initial Demands, Keeps Islamists Dominant

by Jason Ditz, May 31, 2013

A last minute deal at the Syrian National Coalition (SNC) has led them to admit the Michel Kilo faction into the group, and given the liberal political opposition group 14 seats in the 60-seat SNC assembly.

Kilo has long been an advocate of a negotiated settlement to the ongoing civil war, and had previously spurned offers to join the SNC over concerns of the group’s leadership being dominated by Islamists.

The deal won’t change that, however, as Kilo’s initial demand for 25 seats was pared down to a mere 14, and also gave additional seats to an Islamist faction backed by the Qatari government, which is bankrolling much of the SNC’s operation.

The deal appears to be too late to salvage the Geneva Conference, and there is no indication that the SNC will attend the peace talks even with Kilo’s addition. Kamal al-Labwani, one SNC member, said it remains too dangerous to take part in the talks unless the Assad government agrees to preconditions of resigning before the talks take place.

Last 5 posts by Jason Ditz