Syrian National Council Meets In Doha; Assad Denies Civil War In Syria

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By Maya Shwayder | November 10, 2012 12:18 PM EST

The Syrian National Council, the political cousin of the Free Syrian Army, met on Friday in Doha, Qatar to elect its leadership and attempt to establish some form of unity on the heels of reports about flagging support for the rebel cause in Syria.

The meeting was convened to elect an 11-member executive bureau: Mohammed Faruq Tayfor of the Muslim Brotherhood was elected Vice President, and George Sabra, a Christian, was elected President. The former head of the SNC, Abdulbaset Sida, stayed on as a member of the bureau, Al-Jazeera reported.

No women were included in the elections, Al-Jazeera's Dalal Mawad reported from Doha.

The Council formed in October 2011 after the beginning of the Arab Spring, to be an attempted opposition party to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's Baathist party. It is made up mostly of exiled Muslim Brotherhood party members, and has received support and recognition from most Western nations, including the U.S., the U.K., and France.

As the SNC met in Doha, in Damascus Assad continued to deny the country was in a state of civil war, and to deny that his government had committed any war crimes.

"We are fighting terrorism. We are implementing our constitution by protecting the Syrian people," Assad told Russia Today in an interview broadcast on Friday. "My enemy is terrorism and instability in Syria. The problem is not between me and my people."

Assad went on to claim that his government could finish the conflict "within weeks," if only the West would stop supporting the "terrorists." He added only "through the ballot boxes" would he agree to step down.

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