By BEN HUBBARD
Khalid Saleh, the spokesman for the opposition Syrian National Coalition, speaks to reporters in Istanbul, Turkey, Monday, March 18, 2013. The coalition began a push Monday to form an interim government to administer rebel-held parts of Syria. (AP Photo/Ben Hubbard)
ISTANBUL (AP) — The chief of staff of the most official grouping of Syrian rebels has thrown his weight behind the formation of an interim government to administer rebel-controlled areas.
Gen. Salim Idris told reporters in Istanbul on Monday that the fighters of the Free Syrian Army will work under the umbrella of the interim government and protect its members inside Syria.
His comments came as the Syrian opposition pushes to choose a prime minister who will form an interim government.The coalition has failed to take such a step twice before, but members say there now appears to be more agreement that such a step is necessary.
It is unclear how many anti-government fighters fall under Idris’s command, though many brigades do not recognize his group.