From Tunis to Istanbul: Syrian opposition seeks to heal rift
BEIRUT - Several Syrian opposition groups will gather in Turkey on Monday to hammer out common objectives in the face of the regime's deadly crackdown on dissent, the main umbrella grouping said.
The Istanbul meeting comes ahead of the second "Friends of Syria" conference in the same city on April 1, the Syrian National Council said in a statement on Saturday.
The SNC said it was "engaged in reinforcing the common goals of the Syrian opposition" and would meet on Monday and Tuesday.
It said the Istanbul meeting aimed to produce a "National Pact for a New Syria," grouping "the common objectives of the Syrian opposition to end the regime's dictatorship and realise the final objective of establishing a pluralist civil and democratic state."
The SNC called the Istanbul meeting "a true opportunity to prove that all of the components of the opposition have the same objectives."
Syria's fragmented opposition has struggled to remain united in the face of the more than year-long deadly crackdown on dissent by President Bashar al-Assad's regime.
On March 14 three SNC members resigned, followed by the creation of a new coalition of five small opposition groups three days later.
Countries aiming to resolve the Syrian crisis are set to meet in Istanbul on April 1 to discuss ways to help the opposition and stop the regime crackdown, which monitors say has killed 9,100 people in a year of unrest.
The first meeting of the "Friends of Syria," in Tunis in late February, was attended by representatives of around 60 countries, including Western and Arab nations.