Syrian army defectors 311.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
President Shimon Peres on Sunday said that the world is not doing enough to stop the bloodshed in Syria, according to an interview with Israel Radio.
"Murders are increasing everyday and this scandal is unprecedented," said Peres.
He added that he has "great respect" for the rebels continuing to protest and that he hopes "that they win," Israel Radio reported.
Peres made the comments leading up to his trip to the US on Sunday in which he will receive the Medal of Freedom from US President Barack Obama and meet with a number of key US officials to discuss Iran, the peace process and other issues.
Meanwhile, 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.
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.
succeeds Burhan Ghalioun, a liberal opposition figure who had presided
over the council since it was formed in August of last year.
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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.
The Muslim Brotherhood, the most
influential player in the council, had initially indicated it wanted
Ghalioun to remain president, but then opted to support Sida after
opposition activists inside Syria raised objections to Ghalioun
following a third renewal of his term last month.
Adib al-Shihakly, a founding member of the council, had also threatened to resign if Ghalioun remained president.
sources said the election of Sida could help enlist more Kurds, who
number one million out of Syria's 21 million population, behind the
Demonstrations against Assad's rule have been
regularly breaking out in Kurdish regions of Syria but without matching
the intensity of protests in the rest of the country.
That may be
partly because of support by Assad for the armed Kurdistan Workers
Party (PKK), which is suspected of being behind assassinations of
several anti-Assad Kurdish opposition figures since the revolt erupted
in March 2011.
Kurdish members of the council have also had open
disputes with the remainder of the body over the issue of Kurdish rights
and whether a post-Assad Syria would be built around a federal
structure similar to that in neighboring Iraq.
Sida said his
priority would be to expand the council and hold talks with other
opposition figures to include them in the council, which some have
accused of being dominated by Islamists.
"The main task now is to reform the council and re-structure it," Sida told Reuters.
Ishak, a member of the general secretariat, said Sida was elected to
fulfill demands from within the council and from the opposition inside
Syria as well as international powers to make the council more
Sida will work on convening a meeting of the whole
council after a month, during which a new general secretariat and a new
president could be elected, possibly making Sida a transitional leader,
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