ISTANBUL, July 9 (Xinhua) -- Syrian National Coalition (SNC), the country's main opposition umbrella in exile, elected Hadi al- Bahra on Wednesday as the coalition's new leader.
Hadi al-Bahra was elected president of the coalition after three days of intense negotiations in a small Black Sea resort of Sile close to Istanbul, the coalition said on its Facebook page.
Al-Bahra was born in Damascus in 1959. He spent most of his life in Saudi Arabia doing business and managing hospitals. As chief negotiator, Bahra led the oppositions in peace talks with the Syrian government in Geneva in February.
The talks, sponsored by the United States and Russia to end the three-year-old civil war, stalled after two rounds in January and February as the coalition and Assad's representatives failed to deliver substantive progress.
SNC was founded in Doha, Qatar in 2012, and it soon moved its base to Istanbul. In September 2013, the coalition elected Ahmad Tu'mah as the prime minister of the interim government in exile.
However, weeks after the election, the armed Islamist groups fighting inside Syria against the government of President Bashar al-Assad claimed they do not recognize the coalition, saying that all groups formed abroad without having returned to the country do not represent them.
The new leader now faces a major task of reuniting the much- divided oppositions, and getting more Western military support for moderate rebels fighting in the civil-war-torn country in a bid to topple President al-Assad.