The New York Times reports: The main Syrian exile opposition group suffered a serious fracture on Wednesday as several prominent members resigned, calling the group autocratic, dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood and powerless to help Syrian rebels as government forces, having flushed insurgent strongholds in the north, swept into the rebellious southern city of Dara’a.
The government’s near-complete takeover of the cities of Homs and Idlib fueled frustration with the exile group, the Syrian National Council, said one activist who had resigned, Kamal al-Labwani, a respected dissident released from Syrian prison last year halfway through a 12-year sentence.
Activists have said hundreds of people were killed in Homs alone as rebel fighters, their pleas for weapons unanswered, were heavily outgunned by the Syrian military.
“What happened in Homs is betrayal,” Mr. Labwani said in an interview. “There is a sense of irresponsibility on the part of the council.”
The council, he added, was in danger of causing splits in Syrian society by failing to create a single rebel military command under its control, leaving individual militias to seek their own sources of help. He accused Muslim Brotherhood members within the exile opposition of “monopolizing funding and military support.”
The 270-member council has been plagued by internal disagreements. A member of its executive committee, Samir Nachar, played down the latest frictions, saying the members had not submitted formal resignations and were simply frustrated at their exclusion from a meeting with the United Nations special envoy, Kofi Annan.
But this time the departing members include some well-known members with deep credibility among Syrians both inside and outside the country, including Mr. Labwani and Haitham Maleh, an executive committee member and lawyer in his 80s who served many years in prison after defending Syrian dissidents, including Muslim Brotherhood members.
Mr. Maleh could not be reached for comment, but told Al Jazeera that he had resigned because of chaos within the group and doubt over what it could accomplish, adding, “We have not gotten very far in working to arm the rebels.”