AMMAN — The Syrian National Council opposition group re-elected liberal politician Burhan Ghalioun (pictured) as president at a meeting in Rome yesterday, two sources at the meeting said.
Ghalioun, a secular academic, has been leader of the opposition in exile since the SNC’s creation in August 2011. Some fellow activists have criticised him for being out of touch with the opposition inside Syria and for failing to unify the SNC.
“Ghalioun was re-elected for another three-month term,” one of the sources said after a meeting of the council’s general secretariat, which chooses the president every three months. “He won 66 per cent of the vote.”
George Sabra, another liberal who is an ally of Syria’s top dissident Riad al Turk, came second, the sources said.
Turk, an 81-year-old former leftist who spent 25 years as a political prisoner, operates underground inside Syria. The opposition looks to him for moral guidance.
Meanwhile, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said another 16 people were killed yesterday in violence across the country, including 15 civilians and one dissident.
Four were killed, including one woman, in the coastal city of Banias, when a powerful explosion hit their building, the Britain-based watchdog said. It added that many others were wounded in the blast. A six-year-old girl died in violence in the Shehab Eddin al Ras area of Damascus province, the Observatory said. Three other people were killed in the same province, including a young man shot at a checkpoint in the suburb of Qudsaya and another civilian killed by sniper fire in the town of Douma, 13 km northeast of the capital.
Government forces reportedly carried out raids and arrests in several districts of Douma, according to the watchdog.
In southern Daraa province, a young man was killed during early morning clashes in the town of Dael.
Seven people in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor were killed by government forces, including one dissident — a former police officer, it added. — AFP