The divided foreign-backed Syrian opposition has failed to elect a new leader during its latest meeting in the Turkish city of Istanbul.
Both top candidates — Ahmad Jarba, a tribal figure linked with Saudi Arabia, and Mustafa al-Sabbagh, a businessman who is Qatar’s point man, were not able to gain half of the 115 votes of the members of the so-called Syrian National Coalition (SNC) early on Saturday.
Another meeting was scheduled for later on Saturday as the SNC is split into three power centers including “the Muslim Brotherhood, the Sabbagh faction, and a Saudi-backed bloc that includes Jarba,” according to Reuters.
The foreign-backed opposition has been without a leader for months.
The meeting, which kicked off on Thursday, is the second of its kind by the troubled opposition group over the past two months to unite.
George Sabra became acting president of the SNC in April 2013, shortly after Moaz al-Khatib resigned as the group’s leader.
According to reports, the militants are already in possession of anti-tank missiles provided by Saudi Arabia.
On June 14, US President Barack Obama ordered his administration to provide the militants with weapons.
The unrest in Syria erupted in March 2011, and many people, including large numbers of Syrian soldiers and security personnel, have been killed so far.
The Syrian army has conducted successful operations against the foreign-backed Takfiri militants over the past weeks.
The army established control over the strategically important town of Qusayr, near the Lebanese border, in early June. Syrian troops were backed by forces from the Lebanese resistance movement of Hezbollah during the Qusayr operation.
In May, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said militants from 29 different countries are fighting against the government in different parts of the country.