Syrian opposition fighters and local council members have announced that they have formed a new government to regulate areas in the north of the war-torn country.
Dr Muhammad al-Sheikh was appointed as head of the government with 11 more ministers for Interior, Justice, Endowment, Higher Education, Education, Health, Agriculture, Economy, Social Affairs and Displaced, Housing and Reconstruction and Local Administration and Services.
Al-Sheikh, in a press conference held at the Bab al-Hawa border crossing between Syria and Turkey, also announced formation of four commissions – an Inspection Authority, a commission for Prisoners and Missing Persons, a Planning and Statistics Authority, and the Union of Trade Unions.
The founder of the Free Syrian Army, Col. Riyad al-Assad, was appointed as deputy prime minister for military affairs.
Al-Sheikh emphasised that the group’s aim is to represent the interests of the Syrian people in “liberated areas” who have suffered for many years under Assad’s tyranny. He went on to reiterate the new government’s independence from any entity and stated that “we will remain independent, meaning we won’t tolerate pressure from any side.”
This is the first time a government has been formed that is independent of any fighting groups and aiming to handle the affairs of the people of Syria.
However, it is uncertain how effective the new government can be because other Syrian opposition factions control much of the territory in northern Syria. Meanwhile, President Assad has re-taken control of much of the country and US-backed Kurdish forces are in the ascendency in parts of the east.