Syria’s most prominent defector offered himself up Thursday as a figure to unite the fractious opposition, saying he failed to persuade his former friend, President Bashar Assad, to end a bloody crackdown that has killed thousands of Syrians.
The remarks by Manaf Tlass, a Syrian brigadier general until he abandoned the regime this month, were published in a Saudi newspaper just as opposition factions gathered in Qatar to try to agree on a transitional leadership if Assad’s regime falls.
Some opposition members are deeply sceptical of Tlass, believing he’s far too close to the regime. Mahmoud Othman, a member of the opposition Syrian National Council, said Tlass would simply “bring back the regime with a different image.”
“Those who recently defected from the regime must not take part in leading the transitional period,” Othman said.
Members of the SNC met Thursday, but made no decisions on a possible leadership to fill the vacuum if Assad falls.
Rebels take troops in Aleppo, Idlib
Syrian rebels said they have captured 100 regime soldiers and militia members during fighting in the city of Aleppo, according to a video distributed by Syrian activists on Friday.
The video, which shows dozens of men in civilian clothing seated in a courtyard, was filmed by a man who describes himself as a member of the rebel Free Syrian Army. Syrian rebels on Friday also captured 50 troops, including 14 officers, in the town of Maaret al-Numan in Idlib.