MESOP 26-11-2012.: National Coalition Struggles to Win Over Islamist Militias: Some radical factions within Syria have rejected the new opposition coalition as a “Western-backed bloc,” and declared the city of Aleppo an “Islamic state” in a recent video. New SNC Leader, Ahmad Mouaz al-Khatib, responded by stating he would listen to any opposition group that has not joined the alliance and would “keep in contact with them for more cooperation in the interest of the Syrian people.” E.U. foreign ministers have recognized the SNC as the “legitimate representatives” of the Syrian people. Ryan Crocker, former U.S. ambassador to Syria, contended that it is a “good time for discussion” between the U.S. and Iran regarding Syria. A senior State Department official noted that, “Syria cannot…be viewed in isolation. Iran’s pursuit of a nuclear weapon cannot be viewed in isolation…with so much happening in the region, every country has an interest in bringing about a de-escalation.”
Syrian Rebels Seize Airbase, Turkish Envoy Planned: Syrian rebels raided the Marj al-Sultan air base, an installation approximately nine miles from Damascus. Another base used for training by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command, which has supported Bashar al-Assad throughout the revolution, was also raided by rebel fighters. The Syrian National Coalition announced that it will appoint an envoy to Turkey and open an office in Istanbul. Coalition leader Ahmad Mouaz al-Khatib met with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu to discuss planning and strategy for the new Syrian opposition body. Robert Naouss discussed U.S. reluctance to fully support the Syrian opposition, saying the current U.S. policy towards Syria is a balanced one which recognizes the need for maintaining channels for dialogue, if and when opportunity for a negotiated settlement with the regime finally presents itself.