Syrian National Council elects Kurd as its new leader

June 10, 2012 03:11

ISTANBUL - The main Syrian opposition umbrella group, the Syrian National Council, elected Kurdish activist Abdelbasset Sida as its leader at a meeting in Istanbul on Sunday, a council statement said.

Sida, who has been living in exile in Sweden for many years, was the only candidate for the three-month presidency of the SNC at a meeting of 33 members of the councils' general secretariat.

The 56-year-old succeeds Burhan Ghalioun, a liberal opposition figure who had presided over the council since it was formed in August of last year.

Ghalioun, another exile living in Paris, has come under criticism for having had his presidency constantly renewed when the council was supposed to represent a democratic alternative to the authoritarian rule of Syrian President Basher Assad.

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