* Businessman decries absence of women at senior level
* Says council still lacks prominent opposition figures
DOHA Nov 9 A founder of the Syrian National
Council (SNC) resigned on Friday, saying the opposition group
had failed to reform and had even removed women from senior
positions at a meeting in Qatar where restructuring was supposed
to take place.
Businessman Adib al-Shishakly, grandson of a late Syrian
president, said the the main overseas opposition in the
20-month-old Syrian uprising "has failed to become an
institution" and a newly elected 41-member general assembly was
dominated by Islamists.
The SNC, which has come in for criticism from international
allies for being ineffective and riven by personal disputes,
said it had enlarged its membership and become more inclusive at
the meeting in the Qatari capital of opponents of Syrian
President Bashar al-Assad.
"The Council has not managed to attract prominent opposition
figures who have for obvious reasons remained outside it,"
Shishakly said in a statement critical of what had been
accomplished at Doha.
"A younger generation effective in the revolution was also
excluded. Few women were in the general assembly, there are none
now," the statement added.
An SNC source said two other members also had resigned over
the absence of women from senior positions.
Qatar, which has bankrolled the opposition to Assad and
played a leading role in Arab diplomacy against him, hosted the
opposition meeting, with senior U.S. diplomats hovering on the
sidelines, prodding the opposition to make a deal.
The SNC elected on Friday veteran opposition figure George
Sabra, a Christian, as its head during the Doha meeting.
The organisation will start talks on Saturday with other
factions including representatives of rebel groups inside Syria
on forming a new, Western backed wider body that hopes to gain
international recognition and set up a government-in-waiting.