The backers of the National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, commonly known as the Syrian Opposition Coalition (SOC), had suspended their financial support, Sputnik reported on September 18.
According to the Russian news agency, the decision to suspend financial support to the Istanbul-based coalition came as Syrian opposition leaders are preparing to travel to the United States to attend a United Nations meeting.
Sources with knowledge on the issue told Sputnik that the countries that backs the SOC stopped covering the financial expenses, personal expenses and travel fees that result from political and social activities, seminars and meetings held by coalition members in Turkish cities.
“Suspending financial support for [the SOC] activities is not the only thing that reveals a change in the mood of the countries backing the coalition, as the salaries of coalition members have also been delayed during the past two months for more than 15 days,” one of the unnamed sources said.
The receives financial support from several countries. Its members are also paid monthly salaries. All the money is usually funneled through Turkish authorities.
Sputnik said that Syrian opposition leaders are now trying to secure funding for their upcoming trip to the US. Even their closest ally, Turkey, has refused to pay for the trip.
The SOC was formed in the Qatari capital of Doha less than a year after the outbreak of the war in Syria with the aim of overthrowing the regime in Damascus. Soon later, the coalition established its headquarters in Istanbul city. This allowed Turkey to dominate much of the coalition’s internal and foreign affairs.
A recent report by Sputnik said that Turkey has asked the SOC to leave its territory before the end of the year. While this is yet to be officially confirmed by Ankara, recent developments suggest that this may be true.
After the release of the report, Reuters revealed that intelligence chiefs of Turkey and Syria held a series of constructive meetings in the Syrian capital, Damascus, over the last few weeks.
As Turkey is working to restore relations in Syria, the SOC is increasingly becoming a burden. Ankara may have threatened to expel the coalition and suspend all financial support for it in an attempt to pressure its members into accepting a political settlement that favors Damascus.