Syrian Opposition Chooses New Leader

Moderate Islamist Ahmad Tumeh as provisional prime minister


The opposition Syrian National Coalition elected moderate Islamist Ahmad Tumeh as provisional prime minister on Saturday, entrusting him with the difficult task of restoring order to areas no longer controlled by President Bashar al-Assad, coalition members told Reuters.

The coalition hopes that 48-year-old Tumeh will boost the opposition's credibility as Russia and the United States negotiated a deal over Assad's chemical weapons arsenal that could lead to efforts towards a wider settlement of the two-and-a-half year conflict.

Tumeh, a former political prisoner from the eastern province of Deir al-Zor, got 75 votes out of 97 cast in a coalition ballot in Istanbul, the sources said.