Speaking today on CNN, the US State Department’s deputy spokesman Mark Toner claimed that Syria’s opposition is becoming “more cohesive” across the country in general, pointing to a growing sense of unity in the movement.
The comments come just one day after another State Department spokesman, Victoria Nuland, rejected the idea of withdrawing Ambassador Robert Ford from Syria, saying he was key to keeping in touch with the opposition movement.
The claims of unity also come amid opposition talks in neighboring Turkey, where a number of key opposition figures are meeting in Istanbul with an eye on forming a “national council.”
The opposition may indeed be united on certain general principles, like the need to remove dictator Bashar Assad from office, but with a movement of hundreds of thousands of protesters representing Islamist factions, pro-democracy liberals and everything in between, the unity may be much thinner than officials are claiming.
And as the opposition moves more and more into exile, the differences are likely to become all the more pronounced, as internal goals of ousting Assad become clouded by growing pressure from the assorted international interests hoping to shape post-Assad Syria to their liking.