Syria’s main opposition group in exile, the Syrian National Council (SNC), has elected a Kurdish activist as its new president. SNC has elected Abdelbaset Sieda as its new leader at a meeting in Turkey.
The main Syrian opposition umbrella group, the Syrian National Council (SNC), elected Kurdish secular activist Abdelbasset Sieda as its leader at a meeting in Istanbul on Sunday, a council statement said. Abdelbaset Sieda was chosen to replace Burhan Ghalioun, who has held the post since the group was established last September, at a meeting in Istanbul.
On Sunday, government forces shelled rebel-held cities and villages, killing at least 38 people in the rebellious Homs district in central Syria, activists said. It was impossible to independently confirm the death toll.
The choice of Abdulbaset Sieda as head of the Syrian National Council is aimed at achieving several goals for the main opposition group:
Born in 1956 in Amuda, a mostly Kurdish city in northeastern Syria, Sieda is an expert in ancient civilizations and author of a number of books on Syria’s Kurdish minority but is Arabic educated. He does not belong to any political party and his name is not familiar to many Syrians but SNC officials say he is a “conciliatory” figure, “honest” and “independent.”
Abdulbaset Sieda, a 56-year-old activist who has been living in exile in Sweden for many years, was the only candidate to replace liberal opposition leader Burhan Ghalioun for the three-month presidency.
Opposition sources said the election of Sieda could help enlist more Kurds, who number one million out of Syria’s 21 million population, behind the 15-month uprising.