The Syrian opposition opened its first embassy, in Doha, Qatar, on Wednesday, according to reports in the Arab press. The opening took place just two days after the Syrian seat at the Arab League summit held in the Qatari capital was given to the opposition coalition headed by Moaz al-Khatib.
The opposition’s flag was hoisted at the inauguration ceremony attended by Arab and Western ambassadors earlier Wednesday, while the Syrian and Qatari national anthems played.
The Syrian National Coalition named Nizar al-Haraki as its ambassador to Qatar, according to the Chinese news agency Xinhua.
On Tuesday, the Arab League granted the Damascus seat to the opposition in the 24th summit, acknowledging the right of member states to provide the opposition with “all necessary means to… defend themselves, including military means.”
The 22-member bloc suspended Syria’s seat in November 2011 following the Assad regime’s violent crackdown on anti-government demonstrators in the country.
On Wednesday, Russia came out harshly against the Arab League, calling the decision to transfer the seat “illegal and “another anti-Syria step.” The Syrian government accused the Arab League of handing the seat to “bandits and thugs.”
Also on Wednesday, Syrian President Bashar Assad appealed to the 5-member BRICS summit in South Africa for help in ending the ongoing violence in Syria.
Assad sent a letter urging the leaders of the five nation BRICS forum — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — to “work for an immediate cessation of violence that would guarantee the success of the political solution” in Syria.
“This requires a clear international will to dry up the sources of terrorism and stop its funding and arming,” Assad said in the letter, which was carried by Syrian state media on Wednesday.
Assad said Syria is subjected to “acts of terrorism backed by Arab, regional and Western nations” — a reference to the Western-backed opposition fighting his regime.