Syrian activists to form opposition council

By the Associated Press | September 15, 2011 | 5:25 AM EDT

ISTANBUL (AP) — A Syrian activist says a group of opposition members are set to announce a national council in their bid to present a united front against President Bashar Assad's regime.

Louay Safi, a U.S.-based academic, tells the AP a group of activists will on Thursday announce a 130-member council, made up of 60 exiled opponents and 70 dissidents inside Syria.

Members of the group have been meeting in neighboring Turkey in an attempt to form a unified platform, although not everyone among Syria's opposition, fragmented by ideology and mistrust, supports their initiative.

Safi says the Council is broad-based and includes Sunnis, Shiites, Alawites, Kurds and members of the Muslim Brotherhood. He says it is "open to everyone unless they are against democracy."