FromÂ Jill Dougherty and Ivan Watson,Â CNN
Istanbul, Turkey (CNN)Â — The once-fractured Syrian opposition appeared to take major steps forward Sunday, with the Syrian National Council earning international recognition and vowing to pay members of its fighting force who are battling President Bashar al-Assad’s own troops.
That group’s leader, Burhan Ghalioun, told representatives from the Friends of Syria group that gathered Sunday in Istanbul that the opposition is committed to having an inclusive, democratic government that will not discriminate on religious or ethnic bases and will guarantee civil rights for all if and when it ousts Syria’s current government.
But before that happens, he said, the Syrian opposition needs the international community’s help to address ongoing violence that already has left thousands dead and to help the hundreds of thousands struggling as a result.
“You are watching the tragic scenes coming from Syria,” Ghalioun said, urging leaders worldwide to go beyond stern words and commit to the opposition with actions and aid. “The Syrian regime is benefiting from the hesitance of the international community and its division, by tiding up its siege on the cities, displacing its residents, and shelling its neighborhoods”.
Many of those at Sunday’s conference appeared to amp up their commitments to the cause.
The 83-member coalition — which technically is the Group of Friends of the Syrian People — declared its “support for legitimate measures taken by the Syrian population to protect themselves” and urged Syrian forces not to obey “unlawful orders targeting the Syrian people.”
To read more, visit:Â http://www.cnn.com/2012/04/01/world/meast/syria-unrest/?hpt=hp_t2
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