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Syria's opposition faces 'divided we fall' moment

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“The silent majority will be encouraged when they see hope for a better future and when they see concrete initiatives that will rebuild Syria and establish a democratic civil state where all people are treated with dignity and enjoy a free and prosperous life,” says Ausama Monajed, senior adviser to the secretary-general of the SNC. “A grassroots campaign needs to reach out to this group to gain their support even if they wish to remain at home.”

SNC criticized as toothless

The Syrian National Council (SNC) was founded in August 2011, bringing under its wing most established opposition groups as well as new factions that had emerged following the outbreak of unrest in Syria five months earlier.

Led mainly by veteran opposition figures who lived in exile, it lobbied the West for support and helped secure a raft of United Nations and European Union sanctions against the Assad regime. Since then its momentum has faltered amid worsening violence in Syria, internal squabbles, and international hesitancy over intervention.

That has allowed the rebel Free Syrian Army to gain traction at the expense of the political opposition. The SNC has attempted to liaise with the FSA through the formation of a military council, but the armed opposition has shown little interest in dealing with the SNC so far.

Many grass-roots opposition activists accuse the SNC of being out of touch with the realities on the ground and toothless in the face of the Assad regime’s brute force bid to crush the uprising.

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