Wednesday 13 February 2013

Syrian opposition looks on the up and up

"New Syria" Ambassador to Qatar, Nizar al-Haraki

Qatar is the world’s first to hand over the Syrian embassy in its capital, Doha, to the Syrian opposition.
The move was announced in a statement by the Syrian National Coalition of Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, which promptly named Nizar al-Haraki as ambassador.
Haraki, 50, hails from Deraa, cradle of the Syrian uprising, and is an electrical engineering graduate of Aleppo University, where scores of students were killed by MIG airstrikes in mid-January.
Speaking to AFP by phone, Haraki said the Qatari authorities had accepted his appointment.
"I will start work along with two other diplomats," said Haraki.
"Depending on whether they support the revolution, we will decide which former embassy staff members we will keep, and who we will lay off."
Captured al-Jarrah air base
In its statement, the Syrian National Coalition said one of the embassy’s priorities would be to work in tandem with the Qatari Foreign Ministry on issues concerning the travel documents of large numbers of Syrian exiles and refugees.
Human rights chief Navi Pillay says the death toll in Syria is now nearly 70,000. She had given an estimate of at least 60,000 at the beginning of the year.
Russia today confirmed it is still supplying arms to Syria's government. However, the head of the state arms exporter said the supplies did not include attack weapons such as planes or helicopters.
In fighting this week, Syrian opposition forces captured al-Jarrah military air base near Aleppo, where they seized usable MIG fighter jets.
They also overran the country’s strategic al-Furat hydroelectric dam, which they have fought over since July.
The dam is 60 meters high and 4.5 kilometers long and is Syria’s largest. It was built between 1968 and 1973 with help from the Soviet Union.