Sources: Jarba to withdraw confidence from Syrian interim govt’s chief

Withdrawing confidence from Syrian Interim Government chief comes after his decision to disband the rebel Supreme Military Council

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Syrian Opposition Council President Ahmad al-Jarba is attempting to garner support to set a vote-of-no-confidence from the head of the opposition interim government, Asharq al-Awsat newspaper reported on Sunday.

Jarba, the head of the Western and Arab-backed Syrian National Coalition (SNC), annulled on Friday a decision by the prime minister of the interim opposition government Ahmad Tohme to disband the Supreme Military Council of the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA) over graft allegations.

Jarba rebuked Tohme’s decision, saying it falls outside his authority.

However, annulling Tohme’s decision was not enough, SNC sources told the London-based newspaper.

Jarba “is working to get more votes inside SNC to withdraw confidence from government chief Ahmed Tohme.”

In late 2013, SNC chose Tohme as prime minister for the Syrian Interim Government, which it created as an alternative future administration for Syria.

After two days, Jarba will no longer be the official SNC’s president, as the opposition coalition will have presidential elections to choose its new leader. But sources confirmed that Jarba’s influence will stay “even after leaving his position,” and the process to unseat Tohme would not be hindered.

Jarba will need more than half of the 121-seat coalition to withdraw confidence from Tohme.

Ahmed al-Asi, one of the members of the Supreme Military Council, said Jarba will get his way.

Asi described Tohme as “declamatory, and turns problems with his opponents into personal issues,” adding “the military command’s relationship with the interim government was always tense and not as peaceful as oppose to its serious relationship with the coalition.”

However, Kanan Mohammed, the media spokesman for the opposition interim government’s defense ministry, disagreed that Jarba will likely reap supports for the vote of no confidence, justifying Tohme’s decision to dismantle the military command.

Mohammed: “The military command has no influence on fighters on the battle field,” highlighting “most of them live in Turkey and have on effectiveness on the ground.”

The schism between Jarba and Tohme according to the sources goes back “to who is entitled to military authorities.”

The sources also agree that top military leaders, residing in Turkey, do not know much about what is happening on ground, justifying “the United States not funneling the opposition with arms, opting to send support to more organized groups.”

About $287 million non-lethal support was channeled to the Hazem Movement, a similar from Washington, according to Western reports.

Prominent Syrian opposition member Michel Kilo said each side must “determine” their authority to avoid such friction. “[The] SNC’s legal committee was tasked to highlight who is in charge, but it didn’t offer any results,” leaving the two sides polarized, he said.

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