Syrian Opposition Meets in Istanbul to Form Interim Government

Syria’s main political opposition is meeting in Istanbul to form an interim government that will administer areas inside Syria held by rebels fighting to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad.

Nine candidates, including a former minister of agriculture, are vying for the post of prime minister, Arabiya television reported. The establishment of an alternative government was included in the agreement that led to the formation of the opposition Syrian National Coalition in Qatar’s capital, Doha, in November.

The pro-Assad Al Watan newspaper said the coalition is “detached from reality and developments on the ground.”

Peaceful anti-Assad protests that began in 2011 have developed into a civil war that has killed at least 70,000 people, according to the United Nations. Attempts by the U.S., France and Britain to force Security Council action against Assad have been stymied by Russia and China.

To contact the reporters on this story: Donna Abu-Nasr in Beirut at; Taylan Bilgic in Istanbul at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at

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