New Interim PM elected by Foreign-Backed Al-Qaeda Germ Rebels for Syria
Foreign-backed Syria opp. elects premier for ‘interim govt.’
tue Mar 19, 2013 5:19AM
Syria’s foreign-backed opposition coalition, known as the Syrian National Coalition, has chosen a naturalized Syrian-born American citizen as the prime minister of what it called an interim government.
Ghassan Hitto was elected early on Tuesday with 35 votes out of 48 in a meeting of opposition leaders in Istanbul.
Sixty-three members of opposition were present in the meeting that lasted for 14 hours.
Hitto was born in Damascus in 1963 and has lived in the US for decades. He lived in the state of Texas until recently.
The 50-year-old moved to Turkey last November in an effort to manage military aid to areas held by the foreign-backed militants who are fighting against the government of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria.
The Istanbul meeting was initially planned for last month. However, it faced repeated delays as there have been deep rifts among senior opposition figures.
The election came hours after US Secretary of State John Kerry said Washington would not “stand in the way” of European countries if they decided to arm the militants fighting against the Syrian government.
Kerry’s comments came prior to an EU leaders meeting later this week, in which they plan to discuss easing an EU arms embargo.
On Thursday, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said that Paris and London would arm the militants even if an agreement was not reached during the upcoming meeting.
The UK has also expressed support for lifting the arms embargo.
However, Several European countries have disagreed with the move, warning that increasing the number of weapons on the ground will intensify the Syrian conflict.
On February 28, EU foreign ministers last extended the embargo for three months. The sanctions are, however, always up for review by the bloc’s member states.
Syria has been experiencing unrest since March 2011. Many people, including large numbers of Army and security personnel, have been killed in the violence.
The Syrian government has said that the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and that a very large number of the militants operating in the country are foreign nationals.
Several international human rights organizations have accused foreign-sponsored militants of committing war crimes.