DOHA - Opponents of Syrian President Bashar Assad were struggling to form a new leadership in Qatar on Saturday despite objections from the Islamist-flavored Syrian National Council (SNC), which fears it will be sidelined.

The United States and Qatar have pressed the foreign-based SNC to join an assembly proposed by noted Syrian dissident Riad Seif that would include armed rebel groups fighting in Syria.

The SNC, criticized for being ineffective, disunited and out of touch with insurgents and activists inside Syria, says its outside backers should do more to arm the rebels and protect civilians, instead of focusing on its own shortcomings.

The council's newly elected head, George Sabra, said Seif's plan was "the vision of the international community" and criticized as shameful international inaction on Syria.

"The international community has not been able to provide enough weapons for Syrians to protect themselves, while the regime is free to kill all and has resources for weaponry," the leftist Christian told reporters in Doha.

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