Thursday 15, 2011
Today’s death toll: 40. The Breakdown: 27 loyalists killed in clashes with defectors that took place throughout the Deraa/Hauran Province, especially Deraa City, Mseifrah, Jizah and Bosra. 15 more people were killed in Idlib, Homs and Rural Damascus, including 4 soldiers in Hassakeh killed by colleagues for refusing to fire at unarmed protesters.
Bassam Imadi, former Syrian Ambassador to Sweden and the highest ranking civilian defector to date, chaired in Istanbul today a meeting that, according to him, included representatives of “most revolutionary forces operating on the ground. The meeting which comes a day before the Syrian National Council holds its first general conference in Tunisia, was not intended to rival group or council. Rather, Mr. Imadi said, the SNC already recognized his group which is, in fact, already represented in SNC through the Local Coordination Committees. The percentage, however, is “small.” So, we should expect some haggling to take place in the future on “percentages.”
With this new development, there will be four main currents competing inside the SNC: Burhane Ghalioun’s chosen assortment of leftwing figures, Ahmad Ramadan’s assortment of “independent” Islamists, many of whom former Muslin Brother hood members, the Muslim Brotherhood itself, and Imadi’s new group. Representatives of the Damascus Declaration, Kurdish groups, and the few liberals are too marginal to count in the decision-making process.
Imadi’s group’s take on the Free Syrian Army is to support it inasmuch as “it protects the protesters and the peaceful revolution,” which is the line that French and American officials have fed to Ghalioun as well.
Meanwhile the strike continues, the demonstrations… and the war.