Leader of Syrian Opposition Ready to Step Down
(DAMASCUS, Syria) -- With the united front against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad showing cracks, the chief of the leading opposition group said he would quit Thursday in an effort to revive the mission to change the government in Damascus.
Burhan Ghalioun, viewed as a divisive figure by some, said he would leave as head of the Syrian National Council (SNC) as soon as a replacement could be found.
Ghalioun had only led the SNC for six months but other activists accused him of trying to consolidate power by marginalizing them.
The movement against al-Assad is less than 15 months old and has been beset by infighting and inexperience.
Western countries that support the opposition's attempt to bring down al-Assad's regime have been discouraged by the lack of cohesion among the president's political enemies.
The timing of Ghalioun's exit is probably right since the Local Co-ordination Committees, a network of Syrian activists, have complained that "we've seen nothing in the past months except political incompetence in the SNC and a total lack of consensus between its vision and that of the revolutionaries."
It's estimated that between 9,000 and 11,000 people have died since al-Assad imposed a crackdown on his political foes, who he has labeled "terrorists."
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