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New Syrian opposition has to be representative of all voices

Manner in which the new opposition entity handles its affairs from now on will determine the country’s future

Gulf News

The recent developments in Syria are an indication of an important step in the conflict. As the opposition has united into a new entity, their acceptance by the international community will come in time. Hence, it becomes even more urgent that a clear and well-defined agenda is brought forward as a blueprint for the future of the country.

The first country in the West to recognise representation from the Syrian opposition was France. The French President, Francois Hollande, and the new Syrian opposition leader, Muath Al Khatib, announced on Saturday Munthir Makhous as the envoy ­— the new face that will represent Syrian interests in the French capital. Other western countries have also expressed interest and intend to follow suit.

France as well as other western countries are looking into providing the Syrian opposition with arms. There has to be a clear agreement on this, more so since there is a European Union (EU) arms embargo against Syria. The EU as well as the US have taken on a different position as they are waiting and gauging the final make-up of the opposition as a group.

However, there is much that needs to be done by all parties involved. The formation of a new opposition group is only one step. It has to be representative of all voices. Otherwise, it would lack legitimacy. In addition, a provisional government is a must if the opposition is to function as an entity and make any progress with regard to its agenda.

There is no question that the manner in which the Syrian opposition will handle its affairs from now on will determine the future of the country. Reflecting clarity about the situation in Syria is critical, given the fact that what the country is going through resembles a civil war. What is most important is that Syria must not disintegrate.