Syrian opposition suspend meeting targeting a transitional government

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Leaders of the Syrian opposition in Istanbul canceled a meeting dedicated to form a transitional government amid efforts to fill a power vacuum in the war-torn country, the Syrian National Coalition said on Monday.

Earlier talks were held on Saturday as the opposition attempts for the second time to form a government with its credibility at stake, as the country slides into a sectarian conflict between majority Sunni Muslims and President Bashar al-Assad's minority Alawite sect.

Riad Hijab was among the proposed names to carry on the new government, AFP reported.

Former Prime Minister Hijab is the highest-ranking official to have defected from al-Assad’s regime, as he crossed the border to Jordan in August and joined the opposition. He also worked closely with Turkish leaders to help restructure the fragmented Syrian opposition.

The 70-member coalition, dominated by Islamists and their allies, was formed with Western and Gulf support in Qatar at the beginning of December. Power struggles among its members have undermined efforts to agree on a transitional government.

A five-member committee would put forward proposals on a government to the coalition within 10 days, it said on Monday.

The committee would “consult opposition forces and the Free Syrian Army and friendly states to get their opinion about forming the government and the extent to which they can honor the necessary commitments for its financial and political viability,” the coalition said in a statement.

Sources at the negotiations in Istanbul said on Sunday that Syrian National Coalition President Moaz Alkhatib had flown to Qatar to secure promises of financial aid for a transitional government in rebel-held areas.

The talks had been hit by disagreement over whether a transitional government could survive when Alkhatib left in the middle of deliberations, the sources said.

Meanwhile, violence remains on the rise across the country with at least a hundred reported deaths every day.

The capital’s main power line was struck Sunday night leading to power outage that continues to carry out through Monday morning.

Syrian Power Minister said in a statement late Sunday that a group of terrorists targeted a main power line leading to “a semi-integrated collapse” across Damascus.

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