Syria opposition signs unity deal
Syrian delegates at opposition talks in Qatar say they have signed a hard-fought agreement to form a new coalition of forces fighting to end the rule of President Bashar al-Assad.
Leading dissident Riad Seif said the groups “signed a 12-point agreement to establish a coalition.” Seif had drawn up the U.S.-backed reform proposals on which Sunday’s agreement was based.
Opposition figures said the group’s president and deputy would be elected during an evening session later on Sunday.
The deal came after the Syrian National Council, which had formerly been seen as the main representative of the opposition, heeded Arab and Western pressure to agree to a new structure embracing groups that had been unwilling to join its ranks.
Meanwhile, Israeli troops fired warning shots into Syria after stray munitions from fighting between Syrian troops and rebels landed in Israel’s Golan Heights area.
The military said in a statement Sunday that a mortar shell landed near an Israeli army post in the Golan Heights. It says that Israeli soldiers fired warning shots in response.
The statement adds that the army filed a complaint through the local United Nations forces warning that “fire emanating from Syria into Israel will not be tolerated and shall be responded to with severity”.
Israel public radio said the incident was the first direct engagement between Israel and Syria since the countries’ 1973 war.
(Photo, of the first meeting of the Syrian National Council in Tunis in 2011: Tonemgub2010)