Syria opposition elects prime minister
The Syrian National Coalition for Opposition and Revolutionary Forces (SCARF) which convened in Istanbul early on Monday has elected a prime minister to lead an interim government which will serve in parts of Syria controlled by rebel fighters. After long discussions of approximately 14 hours, Ghassan Hitto was elected as transitional prime minister. He received 35 votes out of 48 ballots. Hitto, who has lived in the US for decades, was chosen as prime minister from among 12 candidates. Hitto allegedly pleases both Islamists and liberals. During the meeting which was closed to the press, SCARF agreed that the prime minister and his government must be based inside Syria. One of the important attendees of the meeting, Cemal Karsli, who has been a legislator in Germany for 10 years, said, "I am in contact with Syria 5 to 10 times a day. My family has 14 martyrs in Syria. I am a Syrian with Turkish origin. There is no discrimination among Turks, Kurds, Arabs, Catholics and Muslims, when it comes to saving the country. My wife is an Italian and she is also Catholic. Besides, I am a Muslim and we live in Germany. We have to live in Syria in the same manner. The real jihad will start after the revolution. There is no need to sit around the table with Assad because there is no popular support," Karsli said. For his part, tribal leader Salim el Maslat also thanked Turkey. "If we received support from the very beginning, we wouldn’t need those who have jihad on their agenda. Now they are on our side, fighting to topple the regime. I understand the concerns of the West. But I don’t think that those fighters are a security threat for neighboring countries." El Maslat said.