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National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces

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National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces
الائتلاف الوطني لقوى الثورة والمعارضة السورية
Formation11 November 2012 (in Doha, Qatar)
PurposeOpposition to and replacement of Bashar al-Assad and the government of Syria
HeadquartersIstanbul, Turkey[1]
Region served
Council of about 114 members[2]
Official language
Secretary General
Haytham Rahmeh
Hadi al-Bahra
Vice Presidents
Abdulmajeed Barakat

Dima Moussa

Abdulhakim Bachar
Parent organization
Syrian opposition
Flag used officially by the SNC

The National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces (Arabic: الائتلاف الوطني لقوى الثورة والمعارضة السورية), commonly named the Syrian National Coalition (SNC) (Arabic: الائتلاف الوطني السوري), or the Syrian National Revolutionary Coalition (SNRC) is a coalition of opposition groups in the Syrian civil war that was founded in Doha, Qatar, in November 2012. Former imam of the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus, Moaz al-Khatib, considered a moderate, was elected the president of the coalition, and resigned on 21 April 2013.[3] Riad Seif and Suheir Atassi, both prominent democracy activists and the latter a secular human rights advocate, were elected vice presidents. The post of a third vice president will remain vacant for a Kurdish figure to be elected.[4] Mustafa Sabbagh was elected as the coalition's secretary-general.[5] The coalition has a council of 114 seats, though not all of them are filled.[2]

On 31 May 2013, the coalition gave membership to 15 representatives of the Free Syrian Army, allowing direct representation of rebels from Syria in a political group for the first time.[2] On 6 July, the coalition elected new leadership. Ahmad Asi Al-Jarba was elected president and Anas Al-Abdah was elected as secretary general. On 14 September 2013, the National Coalition selected Ahmad Tu'mah as prime minister of an interim government for Syria.[6] On 25 September 2013, some Islamist factions rejected the Syrian National Coalition stating that "All groups formed abroad without having returned to the country do not represent us."[7]

Structure and aims[edit]

At its creation in November 2012 the National Coalition elected Moaz al-Khatib as its president, Riad Seif and Suheir Atassi as vice-presidents and Mustafa Sabbagh as secretary-general.[5] The coalition has a council of about 63 members,[8] including 22 members from the Syrian National Council.[5]

On 24 March 2013 Moaz al-Khatib made a surprise announcement that he was stepping down as president of the coalition. Although he gave no reason at the time, he later talked of interference by international and regional actors; the interviewer named these as Qatar and Saudi Arabia.[9] The coalition refused al-Khatib's resignation. Khatib was still considered the "primary voice" of the Syrian opposition, and the following day the Arab League granted Khatib the position to head the coalition's delegation to the Arab League.[10] He continued in office for almost another month before confirming his resignation on 21 April 2013.[3]

The main aims of the National Coalition are replacing the Bashar al-Assad government and "its symbols and pillars of support", "dismantling the security services", unifying and supporting the Free Syrian Army, refusing dialogue and negotiation with the al-Assad government, and "holding accountable those responsible for killing Syrians, destroying [Syria], and displacing [Syrians]".[11]

The Syrian National Council withdrew from the coalition on 20 January 2014 in protest at the decision of the coalition to attend the Geneva talks.[12]

Domestic recognition[edit]

The Local Coordination Committees of Syria (LCCSyria) stated that they "[reaffirm their] participation in the National Coalition. The [LCCSyria have] worked hard, and will continue to spare no effort, to ensure the success of the National Coalition in its service to the revolution."[11] The National Coalition was supported by the Free Syrian Army[13] from September 2013 or earlier.[14]

On 16 November 2012, there were 497 street demonstrations in Syria according to the LCCSyria, including 121 demonstrations in Hama that "expressed support for the National Coalition" and 104 demonstrations in Idlib who called for the National Coalition to "support the revolutionaries".[15]

Following the election of the Coalition's president, several pro-Islamist media outlets have signalled their approvals for the formation of the new revolution bloc under the leadership of Sheikh Moaz Al-Khatib. Answering questions on his students' portal EsinIslam of The Awqaf London the London-based Damascene graduate African Muslim cleric, Sheikh Dr. Abu-Abdullah Abdul-Fattah Adelabu called upon the Islamists and their affiliates to support the coalition's leadership.[16]

Supporters of the Coalition in Bologna, Italy

Members of the al-Nusra Front and 13 other armed groups stated in a YouTube video on 19 November 2012 that they "unanimously reject the conspiratorial project called the National Coalition and announce[s] [its] consensus to establish an Islamic state [in Syria]".[13] A day later, commanders of one of those groups, the al-Tawhid Brigade appeared in a video with members of the Aleppo Military Council and Transitional Military Council. They stated that they supported the National Coalition and that the previous day's statement was by "revolutionary forces on the ground" who were not sufficiently represented in the National Coalition.[17] The head of the Free Syrian Army in Aleppo, Abdel Jabbar al-Okaidi, responded to the 19 November statement, saying, "These groups represent a number of military factions on the ground and reflect their position, but not all military forces in Aleppo agree with this. The military council has announced its support for the National Coalition and is collaborating with [it]."[13] Members of the groups listed in the 19 November statement were contacted by Thomson Reuters and stated that "they had nothing to do with the announcement" and that some members of their groups appeared in the video.[18]

On 21 November 2012, the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), which controls territory in the north of Syria, rejected the new coalition and criticised it for "obedience to Turkey and Qatar".[19] The Kurdish National Council agreed to join the Syrian National Coalition; the PYD criticized the KNC for doing so.[20]

According to The Economist, as of late September 2013, "In the month since America backed away from missile strikes to punish Syria's regime for using chemical weapons, the Syrian Opposition Coalition has become increasingly irrelevant."[21]

In October 2013, the Supreme Military Council of the Free Syrian Army, led by Salim Idris, met with Ahmad Jarba, then the president of the SNC. The SMC recognized the National Coalition as the "civil authority" of the Syrian opposition.[22]

In the course of 2015, a rival for representing Syrian opposition emerged in the form of the Syrian Democratic Forces and their political arm, the Syrian Democratic Council, which grew in the context of the Federation of Northern Syria – Rojava.[23]

On 25 April 2018, the al-Mu'tasim Brigade, a FSA group based in the town of Mare', withdraw its recognition of the National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces due to the National Coalition's inability to make national decisions. The group's decision came hours after George Sabra, Suheir Atassi, and Khaled Khoja resigned from the National Coalition.[24]

International recognition[edit]

Coalition members in Doha. In the center, former president al-Khatib, along with former VPs Seif and Atassi, as well as all SNC chairmen Ghalioun, Sieda and Sabra

By March 2013, at least twenty states had recognized the SNC as 'the (sole) legitimate representative of the Syrian people'. However, most of them do not recognize official documents produced by it.[citation needed]

Diplomatic recognition of the National Coalition as the legitimate representative of Syria
Entity Date of recognition Direct terminology
1–18  Qatar 12 November 2012 Sole legitimate representative of Syria[25]
19  France 13 November 2012 Sole representative of the Syrian people and future interim government of democratic Syria[26][27]
20  Turkey 15 November 2012 Sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people[28]
21  Italy 19 November 2012 Legitimate representatives of the aspirations of the Syrian people (verbal declaration by the Italian Prime Minister during a TV network interview).[29]
22  United Kingdom 20 November 2012 Sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people[30]
23  Spain 29 November 2012 Sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people[31][32][33]
24–25  Denmark 9 December 2012 The legitimate representative of the Syrian people[34]
24–25  Norway 9 December 2012 The legitimate representative of the Syrian people[35]
26–29  Netherlands 10 December 2012 The legitimate representative of the Syrian people[36]
26–29  Germany 10 December 2012 The legitimate representative of the Syrian people[36]
26–29  Belgium 10 December 2012 The legitimate representative of the Syrian people[36]
26–29  Luxembourg 10 December 2012 The legitimate representative of the Syrian people[36]
30  United States 12 December 2012 "A" or "The" legitimate representative of the Syrian people[37]
31  Australia 13 December 2012 The legitimate representative of the Syrian people[38]
32  Malta 22 March 2013 Sole legal representative of the Syrian people[39]
 European Union 19 November 2012 "Legitimate representatives of the aspirations of the Syrian people"[40]

Diplomatic representation[edit]

As of 17 November 2012, Monzer Makhous was recognised by France as a representative of the National Coalition and as the future Syrian Ambassador "once a provisional government is established and recognised internationally."[41]

On 20 November, the UK invited the coalition to appoint a political representative.[42] On 26 November, the National Coalition appointed Walid Safur to be its ambassador to the UK.[43]

On 23 November, Qatar asked the coalition to appoint an ambassador, becoming the first Arab country to publicly announce it will accept an envoy from the new opposition body.[44] The SNCs embassy in Qatar was opened on 27 March 2013.[45]

On 5 May 2014, the Coalition was officially granted diplomatic status with the Washington office formerly recognized as a Foreign Mission in the US. Prior to giving foreign mission status to the Washington Office, the State Department shut down the current Washington Embassy along with several regional consulates.[46]



No. Portrait Name
Took office Left office Political party Note(s)
1 Moaz al-Khatib
(born 1960)
11 November 2012 22 April 2013 Independent
George Sabra
(born 1947)
22 April 2013 6 July 2013 Syrian National Council Acting President.[47]
2 Ahmad Jarba
(born 1969)
6 July 2013 9 July 2014 Syrian National Council Re-elected on 5 January 2014.
3 Hadi al-Bahra
(born 1959)
9 July 2014 4 January 2015[48] Independent
4 Khaled Khoja
(born 1965)
4 January 2015 5 March 2016 Independent Re-elected on 3 August 2015.[49]
5 Anas al-Abdah
5 March 2016[51] 6 May 2017[52] Syrian National Council
6 Riad Seif
(born 1946)
6 May 2017 6 May 2018 Independent
7 Abdurrahman Mustafa
(born 1964)
6 May 2018[53] 29 June 2019 Independent
8 Anas al-Abdah
(born 1967)
29 June 2019[54] 12 July 2020 Syrian National Council
9 Naser al-Hariri
(born 1977)
12 July 2020 12 July 2021 Independent Revolutionary Movement
10 Salem al-Meslet
(born 1959)
12 July 2021[55] 12 September 2023 Syrian Council of Tribes and Clans
3 Hadi al-Bahra
(born 1959)
12 September 2023 Incumbent Independent

Syrian Interim Government[edit]

At a conference held in Istanbul on 19 March 2013, members of the National Coalition elected Ghassan Hitto as prime minister of an interim government for Syria. Hitto has announced that a technical government will be formed which will be led by between 10 and 12 ministers. The minister of defence is to be chosen by the Free Syrian Army.[56] Jawad Abu Hatab (born 1962) is acting Prime Minister of the Syrian Interim Government from 17 May 2016[57] until 10 March 2019.[58]

Members and representatives[edit]

At present, the Syrian National Coalition consists of the Syrian National Council and other opposition groups and revolutionary groups, as listed in the following diagram, third column:[8]

Name Representation Role
1 Moaz al-Khatib (Arabic: معاذ الخطيب)[5] Local Council of Damascus
2 Riad Seif (Arabic: رياض سيف)[5] National figures former Vice President
3 Suheir Atassi (Arabic: سهير الأتاسي)[5] Syrian Revolution General Commission former Vice President
Head of Humanitarian Support Unit
4 Mustafa Sabbagh (Arabic: مصطفى صباغ)[5] Syrian Business Forum Secretary-General
5 Haitham al-Maleh (Arabic: هيثم المالح)[8] Council of Syrian Revolutionary Trustees Head of Legal Committee
6 Mouaffaq Nyrabia (Arabic: موفق نيربية) Citizenship Movement Incoming ambassador:  EU and  Benelux:
 The Netherlands
 Luxembourg and Vice President (2016)
7 Marwan Hajo (Arabic: مروان حجو)[59] Syrian National Council Head of Membership Committee
8 Walid al-Bunni (Arabic: وليد البني)[60] National figures Spokesman
9 Monzer Makhous (Arabic: منذر ماخوس)[41] National figures Spokesman
Incoming ambassador:  France
10 Walid Saffour (Arabic: وليد سفور) Syrian Human Rights Committee Incoming ambassador:  United Kingdom
11 Jaber Zain (Arabic: جابر زعين)[8] Local Coordination Committees
12 Ahmad al-Assi al-Jarba (Arabic: احمد العاصي الجربا)[8] Revolutionary Council of Syrian Clans
13 Mohammad al-Sabuni (Arabic: محمد الصابوني)[8] Syrian Scholars Association
14 Sadiq Jalal al-Azm (Arabic: صادق جلال العظم)[8] Unions of Syrian Authors
15 Alhareth al-Nabhan (Arabic: الحارث النبهان)[8] Citizenship Movement
16 Bassam Yousef (Arabic: بسام يوسف)[8] Ma'an Alliance
17 Yehia Ghiqab (Arabic: يحيى غقاب)[8] Syrian National Democratic bloc
18 Khaled Khouja (Arabic: خالد خوجة)[8] Turkmen component
19 Ziyad al-Hasan (Arabic: زياد الحسن)[8] Turkmen component
20 Hussien Alabdullah (Arabic: حسين العبد الله)[8] Turkmen component
21 Abdul Hakim Bashar (Arabic: عبد الحكيم بشار)[8] Kurdish National Council
22 Mustafa Auso (Arabic: مصطفى أوسو)[8] Kurdish National Council
23 Mohammad Abdo Kiddo (Arabic: محمد عبدو كدو)[8] Kurdish National Council
24 Abdelilah Abdelmoeen Fahd (Arabic: عبد الإله عبد المعين فهد)[8] Local Council of Homs
25 Mustafa Nawaf al-Ali (Arabic: مصطفى نواف العلي)[8] Local Council of Raqqa
26 Jawad Abohatab (Arabic: جواد أبو حطب)[8] Local Council of Rif Dimashq
27 Riyad al-Hasan (Arabic: رياض الحسن)[8] Local Council of Deir ez-Zor
28 Moussa Mohammad Khalil (Arabic: موسى محمد خليل)[8] Local Council of Quneitra
29 Ziyad Ghassan (Arabic: زياد غسان)[8] Local Council of Latakia
30 Mohammad Abdelsalam al-Sayed (Arabic: محمد عبد السلام السيد)[8] Local Council of Tartus
31 Mohammad Qaddah (Arabic: محمد قداح)[8] Local Council of Daraa
32 Adnan Rahmon (Arabic: عدنان رحمون)[8] Local Council of Idlib
33 Jalal Khanji (Arabic: جلال خانجي)[8] Local Council of Aleppo
34 Salaheddin al-Hamwi (Arabic: صلاح الدين الحموي)[8] Local Council of Hama
35 Mohammad Mustafa Mohammad (Arabic: محمد مصطفى محمد)[8] Local Council of al-Hasakah
36 Khaled Abu Salah (Arabic: خالد ابو صلاح)[8] National figures
37 Yehya Kurdi (Arabic: يحيى كردي)[8] National figures
38 Ali Sadreddine Al-Bayanouni (Arabic: علي صدر الدين البيانوني)[8] National figures
39 Abdelkarim Bakar (Arabic: عبدالكريم بكار)[8] National figures
40 Najib al-Ghadban (Arabic: نجيب الغضبان)[8] National figures
41 Tawfiq Dunya (Arabic: توفيق دنيا)[8] National figures
42 Ziyad Abu Hamdan (Arabic: زياد ابوحمدان)[8] National figures
43 Kamal al-Labwani (Arabic: كمال اللبواني)[8] National figures
44 George Sabra (Arabic: جورج صبرة)[8] Syrian National Council former Acting President
45 Abdulbaset Sieda (Arabic: عبد الباسط سيدا)[8] Syrian National Council
46 Mohammed Farouk Tayfour (Arabic: محمد فاروق طيفور)[8] Syrian National Council
47 Burhan Ghalioun (Arabic: برهان غليون)[8] Syrian National Council
48 Nazir al-Hakim (Arabic: نذير الحكيم)[8] Syrian National Council
49 Samir Nashar (Arabic: سمير نشار)[8] Syrian National Council
50 Ahmad Ramadan (Arabic: أحمد رمضان)[8] Syrian National Council
51 Jamal al-Wared (Arabic: جمال الورد)[8] Syrian National Council
52 Hussein al-Sayed (Arabic: حسين السيد)[8] Syrian National Council
53 Khaled al-Saleh (Arabic: خالد صالح)[8] Syrian National Council Head of Media Committee
54 Hisham Marwah (Arabic: هشام مروة)[8] Syrian National Council Member of the Executive office
55 Abdulahad Astepho (Arabic: عبد الأحد اصطيفو)[8] Syrian National Council
56 Salem al-Meslat (Arabic: سالم المسلط)[8] Syrian National Council
57 Bassam Isaac (Arabic: بسام إسحاق)[8] Syrian National Council
58 Mouti al-Batin (Arabic: مطيع البطين)[8] Syrian National Council
59 Khaled al-Naser (Arabic: خالد الناصر)[8] Syrian National Council
60 Mohammad Sarmini (Arabic: محمد سرميني)[8] Syrian National Council
61 Louay Safi (Arabic: لؤي صافي)[8] Syrian National Council
62 Mohammad Khedr Wali (Arabic: محمد خضر ولي)[8] Syrian National Council
63 Hanan al-Balkhi (Arabic: حنان البلخي)[8] Syrian National Council
64 Wasel al-Shamali (Arabic: واصل الشمالي)[8] Syrian National Council
65 Ahmad Baccora (Arabic: أحمد بكورة)[8] Syrian National Council

See also[edit]


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Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]