Syria’s new opposition leader will meet French President Francois Hollande next week as he embarks on a tour of Western capitals, a source in Hollande’s office said on Friday.
Ahmad Assi Jarba, elected the head of the main opposition Syrian National Council on July 6, will meet Hollande next Wednesday, the source told AFP.
Jarba will be in Paris on Tuesday and Wednesday. The source said he was also travelling to London, Washington and Berlin, but provided no further details.
Jarba, who is part of a faction of veteran secular dissidents and is seen as close to Saudi Arabia, has criticized some rebels’ links with Islamist groups.
“It is really this centrist, moderate opposition... that we are trying to strengthen,” a French diplomatic source said.
Hollande will give Jarba “a message of support, of French investment in the search for a political solution in Syria, of commitment at every level,” the source said.
Jarba was elected to replace Ahmad Moaz al-Khatib, who had resigned in protest at the world’s “inaction” over violence in Syria that is believed to have killed up to 100,000 people.
Jarba was previously in charge of trying to obtain weapons for the rebels despite Western skepticism of supplying arms to the opposition.