Unlike Libya, the opposition to Assad has failed to garner international
intervention. Since March, the Syrian opposition has reported the deaths
more than 3,000 people and injury of another 20,000.
Still, at the council session in Istanbul, only the governments of
Canada and Japan attended. Opposition sources said other countries had
pledged to send observers, Middle East Newsline reported.
Opposition sources said activists against Assad convened in Belgium,
Egypt and Turkey to decide on the council membership. They said the majority
of the representatives — 40 percent of whom come from Syria — consists of
opposition members. Most of the names on the council were withheld to
prevent reprisals by Assad.
"Our group has worked to secure as many groups as possible from inside
and outside Syria," Ms. Qadmani, addressing a meeting in Istanbul on Sept.
14, said. "The legitimacy of this council, however, derives primarily from
approval from inside Syria. So we did everything to our power to consult all
opposition groups there."
The opposition has expressed disappointment with Turkey. In September,
Turkey was said to have handed over a senior Syrian Army officer, Lt. Gen.
Hussein Harmoush, who defected and joined the opposition. On Sept. 15, the
Assad regime confirmed that it was holding Harmoush.
The sources said the council would focus on the international community
and lobby against Assad. They said the panel would form offices on legal
affairs, foreign relations as well as launch a satellite television channel.
Ms. Qadmani outlined a three-phase program to oust the Assad regime. She
said the regime was collapsing and a democratic alternative must be
"The first phase, which we are already experiencing, includes the
collapse of the regime," Ms. Qadmani said. "The second phase will include
the replacement of the old regime with the new one. The last phase is the
establishment of a transitional government."