Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib

Position: President, National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces

Biography: The former imam of the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus, Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib rose to international prominence after being chosen in November 2012 to head a new coalition opposing President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. With the rebels closing in on the capital, 2013 is likely to be a pivotal year in the uprising, which began two years ago.

It is hoped Al-Khatib will be able to unite the opposition movement. He is not allied to any political party and is known as a moderate who strongly opposes sectarian divisions. A Sunni Muslim, Al-Khatib worked as a petroleum engineer for six years before becoming an imam, and has been involved in the Syrian revolution since the beginning.

The new coalition has been recognised as the legitimate Syrian government by several countries including the US and France. One of Al-Khatib’s early priorities will be convincing the international community to arm the Free Syrian Army.