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Syrian rebels agree on joint leadership

  • Syria's divided rebels have agreed to set up a joint leadership in a bid to oust President Bashar al-Assad, two insurgent sources said on Tuesday.

    Rebels hope the move, taken after mounting pressure from foreign supporters, will help convince backers they are a credible force that deserves to be supplied with more powerful weapons.

    "The agreement has been reached, they only need to sign it now," one rebel source said. Foreign supporters "are telling us: 'Sort yourselves out and unite, we need a clear and credible side to provide it with quality weapons'."

    He added Qatar and Turkey were the main drivers behind the agreement, which may be formally announced over the course of the month.

    The new leadership includes Free Syrian Army (FSA) leaders Riad al-Asaad and Mustafa Sheikh and recently defected General Mohammad Haj Ali, along with the heads of rebel provincial military councils.

    The Syrian National Council has set November 4 as a provisional date for an opposition unity conference in Qatar.

    The 19-month revolt against Assad has killed some 30,000 people while hundreds of thousands have fled to neighboring countries.