By BEN HUBBARD and JAMAL HALABY
In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian doctors treat an injured man who was wounded at the Eman Mosque where a suicide bomber blew himself up, killing Sheikh Mohammad Said Ramadan al-Buti, an 84-year-old cleric known to all Syrians as a religious scholar, at the Mazraa district, in Damascus, Syria, Thursday, March 21, 2013. A suicide bomber blew himself up during evening prayers inside a mosque in Damascus Thursday, killing a top Sunni Muslim preacher and longtime supporter of President Bashar Assad and least 13 other people, state TV reported. Al-Buti’s death is a big blow to Syria’s embattled leader, who is fighting mainly Sunni rebels seeking his ouster. (AP Photo/SANA)
BEIRUT (AP) — The head of the Syrian opposition coalition’s military branch has refused to recognize the body’s new prime minister, saying he was not properly elected.
Louay Almokdad, aide to Gen. Salim Idris, told The Associated Press by phone Sunday that the rebel Free Syrian Army would not recognize the U.S.-educated IT expert chosen last week to head a rebel interim government.
Almokdad said Ghassan Hitto was elected without the support of prominent Syrian opposition figures and that a recognized prime minister must have broad support.
Hitto received 35 out of 48 votes cast by the 63 active members of the opposition Syrian National Coalition last week.
Many prominent opposition figures boycotted the vote, saying Hitto was unknown and backed by outside powers like Qatar and the Muslim Brotherhood.