MOSCOW, November 10 (RIA Novosti) - The opposition Syrian National Council (SNC) has elected George Sabra, a Christian former Communist, as its leader following talks in Qatar, world media reported.
British broadcaster BBC quoted Sabra as saying his election meant the Council was not sectarian and adding that more weapons were needed to help depose President Bashar al-Assad.
Sabra issued a statement, his first as SNC chief, in which he pledged to join efforts with other Syrian opposition groups to “accelerate the fall of [Assad's] criminal regime,” Qatar-based broadcaster Al Jazeera reported.
According to the BBC, the Syrian National Initiative (a tentative name for the proposed unified organization) is to unite different military and political groups into an alternative to Assad's government.
Since its start in March 2011, the Syrian conflict has claimed tens of thousands of lives, according to various Syrian opposition groups. The UN puts the death toll at 20,000-30,000 people.
The West is pushing for President Assad’s ouster while Russia and China are trying to prevent outside interference in Syria, saying that the Assad regime and the opposition are both to blame for the bloodshed. Veto-wielding Moscow and Beijing have three times blocked sanctions resolutions on Syria.