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The New Arab

Syrian opposition appoints new leader

Anas al-Abda [left] is the new president of the SNC [Media Centre: Syrian National Coalition]

Date of publication: 5 March, 2016

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Anas al-Abda was named the new president of the Syrian National Coalition on Saturday, replacing Khaled Khoja following the end of his 12-months-term.
The Syrian National Coalition has voted in a new president to govern the prominent Syrian opposition movement for the next 12 months.

Anas al-Abda was appointed president of the SNC, replacing Khaled Khoja, who stepped down as his one year term-limit came to an end.

As part of the same process the SNC also reached a consensus over the new governing body, naming Muwaffaq Nairabiye, Abdulhakim Bashar, Samira Musalema as its vice presidents and Abdulilah Fahad as secretary general.

All political factions involved agreed the coalition agreed on the appointments, a source in the movement told The New Arab.

Abda is the fifth president of the coalition, which was formed in the Qatari capital Doha in November 2012, one year after the Syrian revolution began.

The new president will be tasked with steering the movement at a time the SNC's overall role seems to be in decline.

A number of analysts have argued the SNC has become increasingly eclipsed in prominence and function following the formation of the Higher Negotiations Committee [HNC] in Riyadh in 2015. This took charge of negotiations with the regime on behalf of the Syrian opposition.

Abda was born in Damascus in 1967. He studied geology at Yarmouk University in Jordan and received a master's degree in geophysics before moving to work in the UK.

From London, Abda founded the Justice and Development Movement, which opposed Bashar al-Assad's regime. He subsequently became the leading figure in the "Damascus Declaration of the Diaspora". 

Following the onset of anti-regime protests in 2011, Abda became one of the co-founders and chairs of the Syrian National Council.

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