Syrian activists form ‘military coalition’ against Assad’s regime


Syrian opposition groups meeting in Istanbul on Monday announced the creation of a military coalition to boost an armed struggle against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

Tribal leader Abdul-Ilah al-Melhem told the anti-regime activists who gathered in the meeting that tribesmen opposed to President Assad will join the new force seeking to topple regime in Damascus.

Prominent Syrian Human rights activist Haitham al-Maleh voiced his support for the new military front in a video message to the conference, part of which was broadcast by Al Arabiya.

In Saudi Arabia, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said there was no U.N. discussion on military options to stop the bloodshed in Syria and called on Assad to stop violence now “in the name of humanity.”

“We are deeply troubled by what has been going on,” Ban told Reuters on the sidelines of an Islamic Development Bank meeting in Jeddah. “Annan’s plan remains central to the resolution of the Syrian crisis.”

Arab ministers at a meeting on Saturday in Doha urged the United Nations to refer joint envoy Kofi Annan’s six-point peace plan for Syria to Chapter VII, without explicitly calling for military action.

Chapter VII outlines action the U.N. Security Council might take, including military force, in response to threats to international peace, breaches of the peace and acts of aggression.

The Council “must honor its responsibilities, in accordance with the U.N. Charter, and take the necessary measures to guarantee the full and immediate implementation of the Annan plan, in a limited time frame,” the ministers said.