The opposition Syrian National Council (SNC) has elected George Sabra, a leading Christian opposition figure, for a six-month term at its leader following discussions in Doha, Qatar, Aljazeera reported.
Sabra was one of two candidates that the SNC’s executive council chose from in a ballot counted in front of reporters and council members. In his first statement as SNC chief, Sabra on Friday vowed to “work with other components of the Syrian opposition to accelerate the fall of [President Bashar al-Assad’s] criminal regime.”
The SNC has been vying to keep its leading role in the conflict and has come under US pressure to unify with other groups opposed to Assad.
Farouq Tayfour, a senior member of the Muslim Brotherhood, was elected his vice president.
Earlier on Friday, the umbrella group elected 11 members to sit on its executive committee, having already elected a 41-member secretariat.
Sabra, born in Qatana in the Damascus Suburbs governorate, is a leftist opposition figure and a leading member of the Syrian Democratic People’s Party. He was arrested several times under the regime of Assad.
“We hope that these free and transparent elections will be a model for free elections in Syria,” Sabra told the AFP news agency, stressing that the new executive represents all sectors of society, including for the first time the tribes.
SNC representatives voiced reservations about the initiative, based on a proposal tabled by prominent dissident Riad Seif with apparent US support.