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Syria Opposition Group Form Council To Counter Assad

A meeting of Syrian opposition figures in Istanbul elected a 25-member "national salvation" council composed of Islamists, liberals, and independents.

Of the close to 350 people who attended the opposition congress, many were Syrian exiles who had left the country years earlier.

During the Istanbul meeting, the opposition groups appeared divided over whether to form a government-in-waiting or wait to see how the uprising unfolds.

They finally compromised on forming the council which will meet on July 17 to appoint an 11-member committee. A further meeting will seek to tighten bonds between the opposition groups. The meeting took place a day after the biggest demonstrations so far in Syria.

On July 15, President Bashar al-Assad's troops killed at least 32 civilians, including 23 in the capital Damascus.

compiled from agency reports