Nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism. Supported by readers.


Moaz al-Khatib resigns as head of Syria opposition

Al Khatib did not explain his decision except to say that the position gave him little freedom.

Moaz al-Khatib, head of Syria’s opposition in exile, stepped down in a surprise resignation today, although the Syria National Coalition says it refuses his decision.

Al-Khatib did not explain his decision, except to say that the position gave him little freedom.

“I announce my resignation from the National Coalition, so that I can work with a freedom that cannot possibly be had in an official institution,” al-Khatib said on Sunday on his Facebook page.

He also mentioned the failure of the “international community to take a decision to allow the people to defend themselves,”  GlobalPost’s Syria correspondent Tracey Shelton reported. 

Article continues after advertisement

He said he promised to resign if certain red lines were crossed but did not elaborate.

Neither the Coalition’s presidential office nor its general assembly accepted Khatib’s resignation, AFP reported.

“They are asking Mr Moaz al-Khatib to go back to his work as the president of the Coalition,” a statement from the opposition bloc read.

Moaz al-Khatib’s resignation after less than four months in office may be a reflection of the divisions of the Syrian opposition, Shelton says, pointing out that opposition groups have struggled to unite since the conflict broke out.

“The objectives of those fighting on the ground vary greatly from secular democratic goals, a fight for a fundamentalist Islamic regime, and personal ambitions of leadership or economic advancement,” GlobalPost’s Tracey Shelton said.

“The leadership outside Syria did make advances under al-Khatib’s leadership, but is still and long way from uniting opposition parties or gaining enough influence on the ground to engage in peace talks or rally significant support from the west, she added. 

National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces (SNC) was formed last November in Doha as the official opposition to Assad’s regime in Syria.

Al Khatib, an imam from Damascus who is considered a moderate, was chosen as the organization’s first leader.