BEIRUT (Reuters) - Syria's rebels demanded on Thursday they be granted half the seats in the opposition Syrian National Coalition, warning that without strong representation of fighters on the ground the group would have no legitimacy.
"We have learned that there have been compromises to expand the coalition which include bringing in a number of politicians, and a similar number from the rebel forces operating on the ground," a statement issued in the name of the Western-backed rebel military council said.
Rebel forces had "requested 50 percent rebel and military representation," it said. "The legitimacy of the coalition will only be granted from inside (Syria), and circumventing this rebel representation will mean legitimacy is withdrawn."
The statement follows a deal struck in Istanbul to admit a liberal bloc of opposition activists into the coalition to dilute the dominance of Islamists in the organisation.
Reporting by Mariam Karouny; editing by Mark Heinrich