Syria: Opposition Drafts Declaration in Antalya

This post is part of our special coverage Syria Protests 2011.

Just a day after President Bashar Assad announced a general amnesty for political prisoners, a varied group of Syrian opposition members are meeting to create what one report referred to as a “‘roadmap’ for a peaceful and democratic transition in Syria.” The group is comprised mostly of exiles, including members of the banned Muslim Brotherhood.

Syrian-American academic Dr. Mohja Kahf, a professor at the University of Arkansas, is live-tweeting the event, which is taking place at a resort in Antalya, Turkey.

Syrians attend the Antalya conference, flanked by images of Syrian martyrs

Late Wednesday, she wrote of the event: “Antalya:This is not your daddy's old opposition conference #Syria New groupings forming, young faces,fresh energies.”

Dr. Kahf also tweeted that the members of the meeting would be holding a day-long hunger strike in solidarity with their fellow Syrians.

Also on Twitter, @abulyas was quick to point out that the conference was not an “opposition conference,” noting:

“#Antalya conf isn't “opposition” conf. It brought many independent Syrians from the world united in purpose to end Syrian regime #march15″

Though the conference attendees are united in their cause, the conference has not been without its disagreements. Dr. Kahf noted a conversation she witnessed in the hotel lobby:

“Younger generation that is carrying this rev:don't care abt old lines of diffs:Ikhwan,secularists” -lobby conversation Antalya conf #Syria.”

An article in NOW! Lebanon notes a young/old divide as well. There have also been reports that some Syrian opposition members refused to attend the conference, as well as some expressions of disappointment on Twitter from Syrians in the country.

But while the conference was well-attended, pro-regime protesters managed to make their way to Antalya, just a few hundred kilometers from the Syrian border, to demonstrate against the opposition meeting. But as CNN reporter Ivan Watson points out on Twitter:

“Antalya deputy police chief says he's keeping hundreds of pro-regime demonstrators at a distance from Syrian opposition conference.”

The conference attendees were preparing a declaration to be released on June 1.

This post is part of our special coverage Syria Protests 2011.


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