Syrian Opposition Leader to Be Replaced

01/11/2012 RUDAW By WLADIMIR van WILGENBURG – ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Head of the Syrian National Council (SNC) Abdulbasit Sieda is expected to be replaced by a new leader.

Sieda, from the Kurdish city of Amude, was elected as the head of the SNC on June 12. Sipan Sayda, a member of the SNC, told Rudaw that Sayda wants to step down from the post.Sayda is a member of the Sawa Coalition, a Kurdish youth group based in Qamishli and Derek, and also Sieda’s nephew. He told Rudaw, “My uncle doesn’t want to be president anymore. For him, four months was enough.” The next leader of the SNC will be decided next week during a meeting of the Syrian opposition in Doha, Qatar, Sipan told Rudaw.

The magazine Foreign Policy reported that Syrian opposition leaders of all stripes will convene in Qatar next week to form a new leadership body to subsume the SNC, which the U.S. sees as ineffective, disunited and not respected on the ground. According to Foreign Policy, the U.S. government is heavily involved in the formation of a new council, where the SNC will play a minor role. The new council could form an interim government in Syria in the future. Kurdish political parties — both those united in the Kurdish National Council (KNC) and the Democratic Union Party (PYD) — have been critical of the SNC, suggesting they have not included Kurdish demands. But according to Sayda, the SNC has 38 Kurdish members and reflects Kurdish demands. On Sept. 20, Falah Mustafa Bakir, head of foreign relations for the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), criticized the SNC during a conference in the Netherlands, saying, “The SNC is not strong, has no leadership, no vision and is not united.”