Samira al-Musalama, a Syrian oppositions figure, revealed in an article published by the UK-based al-Hayat newspaper on December 8 that Haytham Manna chairman of the Syrian opposition Qamh Movement and Khaled Mahameed (a member of the Syrian opposition High Negotiations Committee) wants Farouk al-Sharaa, a prominent figure of the ruling Ba’ath party, to head the upcoming the Syrian National Dialogue Conference in Russia’s city of Sochi.
According to al-Musalama’s article, Manna and Mahameed proposed their idea to Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov and Sergey Vershinin, special envoy of the Russian Foreign Minister for Middle East settlement, during a meeting in Moscow in November.
Al-Musalama said that al-Shara’a was chosen by the Syrian opposition because he is a “moderate” figure that’s accepted by all Syrian sides because he didn’t take any positions during the Syrian crisis. However, unlike what the Syrian opposition is claiming, al-Shara’a is one of “the old guards of the Ba’ath party”, a term used to refer to the Syrian leaders who raised to power along with former Syrian President Hafez al-Assad.
Al-Shara’a is will know for being very close to the al-Assad family and highly trusted by them. He was appointed as the Syrian foreign minister by Hafez al-Assad in 1984 and occupied this position until 2006 when he was appointed as the vice president of Syria by the current Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad.
Unlike what the Syrian opposition is promoting, the naming of al-Shara’a as the possible head of the upcoming Sochi conference may be a gain for the Damascus government.