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Syrian Opposition Elects Interim Prime Minister

syriaISTANBUL (AP) — The main Western-backed opposition group in Syria has elected an interim prime minister as it seeks to firm up its standing as a viable political alternative there.

The Syrian National Coalition voted during a meeting in Istanbul on Saturday to name Ahmad Saleh Touma, a dentist and longtime political activist, to lead the group. Touma’s election comes as the United States and Russia have agreed to a deal to secure and destroy Syria’s chemical weapons and are seeking a breakthrough on broad talks to end the long and deadly Syrian civil war.

Touma will be charged with organizing governance in parts of Syria controlled by disparate rebel factions. He later said in a speech that they will work on returning Syria to a state that respects human life and rights.

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