Syrian businessmen set up anti-Assad forum in Doha
DOHA A GROUP of Syrian businessmen from all over the world on Wednesday announced the formation of a Syrian Business Forum in exile as well as creation of a $300 million fund to support the revolution back home.
The election of a seven-member board of the Forum including Yehia Kurdi, Mokhtar Abbara, Wael Merza, Mustafa Sabbagh and three others on the ground in Syria, was also announced.
Making the announcements at a press conference, Forum President Mustafa al Sabagh said that the fund named Syria al Amal (Syria is the hope) had been created to help the uprising. He appealed to businessmen and supporters of the revolt to contribute to the fund.
The Forum and the fund will be based in Doha, Merza, who is also secretary-general of the opposition Syrian National Council said.
“We are committed to doing everything we can in support of the Syrian people and will provide unlimited support till the overthrow of the regime”, he said.
“This fund has been established to support all components of the revolution in Syria, and to establish a strong relationship with businessmen inside and outside Syria and to protect civilians,” Merza said.
Half of the $300 million had already been spent, some of which were contributions to the rebel Free Syrian Army.
Asked about the use of the fund he said it is mainly directed at supporting the Syrian refugees and the civil societies, along with funding the Syrian free army mission that are restricted to supporting the civilians.
“The majority of support given (to the rebels) will be on the technical side,” Merza said. “It’s also logistical support to our people on the ground.” “Yes, we supported the Free (Syrian) Army to protect civilians,” said Sabbagh.
Merza said Russia’s call for an international meeting was “an acceptable move in the right direction.” He also hinted at strong financial support from oilrich Gulf Arab states for the new fund.
“We are going to see distinct support of this fund from neighbours in a very clear manner, in a matter of weeks. We expect Qatar to play a major role,” he said.