March 18 - Members of a broad coalition of the Syrian opposition met in Turkey Monday to prepare for the possible election of an interim prime minister, but the head of the opposition group inside Syria warned that forming any government outside Syria only deepens the political divide. Mana Rabiee reports.
Forging a government - from exile. Members of the Syrian opposition met in Istanbul Monday for talks on the possible formation of an interim government. This, as fighting continued Monday in a bloody conflict now entering its third year. The commander of the Free Syrian Army said his forces will abide by a newly-elected government, which would rule rebel-held territories. (SOUNDBITE) (English) FREE SYRIAN ARMY CHIEF OF GENERAL STAFF SELIM IDRIS SAYING: "We announce that we recognize the national coalition as the political umbrella for the Free Syrian Army." Twelve candidates are running for interim prime minister. Among them, Salem al-Muslet, who said the new government must stay close to the Syrian people. (SOUNDBITE) (English) PRIME MINISTERIAL CANDIDATE, SALEM AL-MUSLET SAYING: "I do not think a real government can operate from outside the country. The real government should operate among the Syrian people." That sentiment was echoed in Damascus by the head of the National Coordination Body. It's an opposition group tolerated by Assad but rejected by rebels. Hassan Abdul Azim refused to accept any government outside Syria, saying it deepens the internal political conflict. (SOUNDBBITE) (Arabic) HASSAN ABDUL AZIM, HEAD OF THE NATIONAL COORDINATION BODY IN SYRIA, SAYING: 'The crisis has become complicated, and any actions from any side, whether from the regime or opposition, will not reach an agreement and will not succeed.'' But the opposition is eager to create a provisional government. It needs to show it can fill the power vacuum left by collapsing state institutions in a post-Assad era.