The urgency of the work ahead for the coalition was highlighted by attacks across Syria on Sunday that killed at least 90 people, according to the Local Coordination Committees, an activist network.
The Syrian military used helicopters and tanks Sunday to attack the town of Ras al-Ain, which is on the border with Turkey, the Associated Press reported.
At least 11,000 Syrians fled intense clashes between government forces and rebels in Ras al-Ain on Thursday, according to the United Nations.
One of the most contentious issues in the discussions at the conference was the SNC’s role.
Some members of the SNC pushed back hard against the initiative to form the new coalition, fearing it would mean the dissolution of their group. But many of the holdouts stood down under strong pressure from their colleagues who backed the initiative and the opposition’s foreign supporters.
The SNC was offered additional seats to win its support, and it will receive about one-third of the 60 seats in the new coalition. About one-quarter of the seats will be set aside for members from inside Syria, which will include a representative from each of the country’s 14 provinces.
“The most important components are those coming from inside Syria, and they’re fully on board,” said Yaser Tabbara, a founding member of the SNC who helped shape the initiative to form the new coalition.
Provisions also have been made to include minorities in the new organization.
The new coalition will function as a sort of parliament rather than a government, according to participants in the discussions, and will be responsible for the creation of a legal committee, a military council and a temporary government.
The formation of the military council, which will include representatives from the Free Syrian Army as well as local militias and defectors, may be the most important step for the new coalition.
The distribution of military aid to armed groups in Syria has been chaotic and led to infighting among various factions. Now, the countries giving military aid, which include Qatar and Saudi Arabia, have decided to channel the weapons through a central body that could establish some control over the process.
“The whole point of establishing this political umbrella . . . is to act as that civic point of authority for the military people,” Tabbara said.
The coalition will not engage in dialogue or negotiations with the Syrian government, according to a draft document for the creation of the body released Sunday.
Activists who participated in the meetings said the deal is an important breakthrough, but many acknowledge that there will be tough negotiations ahead.
“This is an important step, but the devil will be in the details,” the Western diplomat said.