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Resignation of Syrian opposition chief 'expected'

Updated: 2013-03-25 11:52
( Xinhua)

DAMASCUS - The resignation of Moaz al-Khatib, head of the exiled Syrian opposition coalition, was "expected", the opposition group National Coordination Body (NCB) said Sunday.

"The resignation was expected and was not a surprise," Rajaa al-Naser, a leading NCB member, told Xinhua on Sunday.

He said al-Khatib has "an independent political orientation", adding that "he (al-Khatib) has realized that the coalition is controlled by some countries that are pushing it far from the path of politics to implement foreign agendas."

Al-Khatib's media adviser and coordinator Mohamed Ali said "the coalition chief resigned due to the slackness of the international community while the people are being slaughtered in Syria everyday".

Ali blamed the international community for "reluctant" support of the Syrian opposition in terms of weapons under the pretext that they might reach terrorist hands.

Meanwhile, al-Khatib, elected to the head of the Cairo-based coalition in November 2012, said Sunday the international community had failed to help the rebels, adding that he could only improve the situation by working outside of the coalition.

"I announce my resignation from the national coalition, so that I can work with a freedom that I cannot possibly have in an official institution," he said in a statement, adding that he has promised to step down if certain "red lines" were reached.

Al-Khatib did not specify the red lines that pushed him to resign, but his frustration came with the international community's failure to authorize the armament of the Syrian rebels after the European Union turned down the British and French calls to exempt the rebels from an arm embargo on Syria.

"All the destruction of Syria's infrastructure, the detention of tens of thousands of people, the forced flight of hundreds of thousands and other forms of suffering have been insufficient for the international community to take a decision to allow the people to defend themselves," he said.

Al-Khatib, a former Muslim imam seen as a respected figure, made a surprising declaration in January after offering to embark on negotiations with representatives of the Syria administration on condition that the talks should result in the departure of President Bashar al-Assad.

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