March 19, 2013 - 09:22 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Syria’s opposition coalition early Tuesday, March 19 elected a little-known American-educated IT manager and Islamic activist to head an interim government to administer the areas seized by rebel forces from the forces of President Bashar Assad, according to The Associated Press.
Ghassan Hitto received 35 votes out of 48 ballots cast by the opposition Syrian National Coalition’s 63 active members during a meeting in Istanbul. The results were read aloud by coalition member Hisham Marwa to applause from a few dozen of his colleagues who had waited until after 1 a.m. to hear the results.
“I miss my wife and children and I look forward to seeing them soon,” said Hitto, who has lived in the United States for decades and recently moved from Texas to Turkey to help coordinate aid to rebel-held areas.
When asked what his interim government’s first priority would be, Hitto said he planned to give a speech later Tuesday outlining his plans.
Coalition members hope the new government will unite the rebels fighting Assad’s forces on the ground and provide services to Syrians living in rebel-held areas, many of which have been battered by the country’s civil war and suffer acute shortages of food, electricity and medical services.
But the new government faces huge challenges, starting with its ability to gain recognition from rebel factions on the ground.
Hitto’s election follows two failed attempts to form interim governments due to opposition infighting. Coalition members also say they received insufficient international support to allow them to project their authority to groups inside Syria. The new government could have the same problem.