Defector: Most Syrian bomber pilots grounded

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On Wednesday, the group is choosing a new leadership. However, the internal reforms may not be enough to thwart attempts to form a new opposition leadership that would dilute the SNC’s influence.

The U.S. has become increasingly frustrated with the SNC’s failure to forge a cohesive and more representative leadership. Last week, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton harshly criticized the group.

Syrian dissident Riad Seif has proposed a 50-member leadership team with wide representation of those inside Syria and only 15 seats for the SNC. Mr. Seif said Tuesday that the SNC has “failed” because it has not provided leadership and support for those fighting the regime.

The fate of Mr. Seif’s plan is to be discussed Thursday, but the SNC has been pushing back because it fears it could be sidelined. In a counterproposal, the SNC said those present Thursday should set up a transition government, not argue about leadership posts.

The outgoing SNC chief, Abdelbaset Sieda, warned Tuesday that “any action targeting the council (SNC) will intentionally or unintentionally prolong the life of the regime.”

He did not refer specifically to Mr. Seif’s plan but said that “we emphasize the need to preserve the SNC as a basic component” of the Syrian opposition.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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