The opposition Syrian National Coalition elected a moderate Islamist as provisional prime minister Saturday, in a move it hopes will boost the opposition's credibility amid an international dialogue that aims to settle two-and-a-half year conflict.
The coalition hopes the election of Ahmed Tumeh, 48, will garner respect for the opposition after Russia and the United States agreed earlier Saturday on a framework for removing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's chemical weapons arsenal.
It is hoped that the negotiations on chemical weapons could lead to a wider political solution to a conflict that has killed over 100,000 people. A further six million and counting have been displaced or exiled.
Tumeh is entrusted with the difficult task of restoring order to areas no longer controlled by Assad, coalition members told Reuters.
Tumeh, a former political prisoner from the eastern province of Deir al-Zor, got 75 votes out of 97 cast in a coalition ballot in Istanbul, the sources said.
He is expected to choose a cabinet of 13 ministers in a deal reached after two days of talks between power brokers in the Arab and Western-backed coalition.
"The priority of my government will be to restore stability in the liberated areas, improve their living conditions and provide security," Tumeh told Reuters after he was elected.
Al Jazeera and wire services