11/10/2012, 00.00
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A Christian to head the Islamists of the Syrian National Council

The choice aims to show the diversity of the opposition movement often referred to as sectarian and too close to Islamic radical positions. George Sabra was elected yesterday at the end of the meeting of the Syrian National Council in Doha (Qatar). The dissident has been fighting for decades for democracy in Syria and spent several years in prison. In his first speech he has urged foreign countries to stop the bloodshed arguing in favour of supplying arms to the opposition in the battle against the Assad regime.

Doha (AsiaNews / Agencies) - A Christian will be the new leader of the Syrian National Council (SNC), dominated by Islamists. The election was announced last night at the end of the meeting the major opposition group to the Assad regime this week in Doha (Qatar).

Former communist and opponent of the Syrian regime since the time of Hafez al-Assad, father of Bashar, George Sabra was one of the first founders of the SNC.  He has spent several years in the prisons of the regime and has been living in exile in Turkey for months. He said his election as "an example of the pluralism within the opposition", considered by many to be a "hotbed" of Islamists. In a press conference he called on foreign countries to stop the extermination of the Syrian people, by sending more weapons in support of the opposition. "We need to stop this trail of blood - he said - and support the cause of the Syrian people."

Wanted by the United States, Europe and the Arab League, the meeting of the Syrian National Council was organized to create a united front of political opposition to the regime, able to make quick decisions and lead the country in case of a fall of the Assad regime. Yesterday, Moreno Ocampo, former prosecutor of the International War Crimes Tribunal, said that NATO is in possession of all the necessary documentation to request the arrest of Syrian president for crimes against humanity. Any action of the international tribunal could speed up the possibility of a direct intervention of the countries of the UN Security Council as was the case in the conflict against Libya's Gaddafi.

Begun in March 2011 in the wake of the Arab Spring, the Syrian civil war has already cost more than 36 thousand dead and nearly a million displaced. There are about 200 thousand refugees who  have fled to neighboring countries Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan. UN sources report that more than 11 thousand people crossed the Turkish border yesterday. Many of them are regular Syrian army deserters.


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