ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Diplomatic efforts intensified on Tuesday to solve a crisis in Syria’s opposition which threatens to derail a planned peace conference and rob the Islamist-dominated alliance of international support.
After six days of talks in Istanbul, the 60-member Syrian National Coalition has failed to agree on the wider involvement of a liberal opposition bloc, to the dismay of Western and some Arab backers keen to reduce the influence of Islamists.
ISTANBUL (Reuters) – A crisis in Syrian opposition ranks deepened on Monday when a Western and Arab-backed liberal bloc was offered only token representation in the Islamist-dominated Syrian National Coalition.
To the dismay of envoys of Western and Arab nations who have been monitoring four days of opposition talks in Istanbul, the 60-member coalition thwarted a deal to admit a bloc headed by opposition campaigner Michel Kilo with up to 22 new seats.
ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Talks by Syria’s opposition to choose a new leadership before an international peace conference stalled on Sunday over proposals to lessen Qatar’s influence on the rebel forces, opposition sources said.
The disarray in the opposition ranks emerged as the Syrian foreign minister said President Bashar al-Assad’s government would take part “in principle” in the conference, which could take place in the next few weeks in Geneva.
ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Syria’s opposition resumed talks on Saturday aimed at closing their fractious ranks, as government forces launched a fierce onslaught on a rebel-held border town to try to gain the upper hand in the civil war.
A failure of the opposition to unite could weaken the hand of Russia and the United States, co-sponsors of a proposed peace conference on the war, which has killed 80,000 and threatens to spill over borders and whip up wider sectarian violence.
ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Syria’s opposition resumed talks on Saturday aimed at creating a coherent front crucial to a proposed international peace conference, struggling under Western and Arab pressure to close their fractious ranks and elect a viable leadership.
Failure of the opposition to unite could weaken the hand of conference co-sponsors Russia and the United States in ending Syria’s civil war, which has killed 80,000 people and threatens to spill across borders and whip up wider sectarian conflict.
ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Syrian opposition talks aimed at presenting a coherent front at an international peace conference to end the civil war faced the prospect of collapse after President Bashar al-Assad’s foes failed to cut an internal deal, opposition sources said on Friday.
The failure of the Syrian National Coalition to alter its Islamist-dominated membership as demanded by its international backers and replace a leadership undermined by power struggles is playing into the hands of Assad, whose forces are attacking a key town as his ally Russia said he would send representatives to the conference, coalition insiders said.
ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Syria’s fractious opposition scrambled to agree a new leadership on Friday in a bid to present a coherent front at peace talks which the United States and Russia are convening to seek an end to more than two years of civil war.
A major assault by President Bashar al-Assad’s forces on a rebel held town over the past week is shaping into a pivotal battle. It has drawn in fighters from Assad’s Lebanese allies Hezbollah, justifying fears that a war that has killed 80,000 people would cross borders at the heart of the Middle East.
ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Syria’s divided opposition leaders have failed to back a plan by their outgoing leader for President Bashar al-Assad to cede power gradually to end the country’s civil war, highlighting the obstacles to international peace talks expected next month.
The 16-point plan proposed by Moaz Alkhatib, who resigned as head of the Western-backed opposition National Coalition in March, urges Assad to hand power to his deputy or prime minister and then go abroad with 500 members of his entourage.
ISTANBUL (Reuters) – The Syrian opposition in exile met on Thursday to decide whether to attend a peace conference that the United States and Russia see as a crucial path to ending two years of civil war.
Under international pressure to swiftly resolve internal divisions, the Syrian National Coalition began talks in Istanbul to elect a coherent leadership and decide on the conference which could take place in Geneva in the coming weeks.
AMMAN/BEIRUT (Reuters) – Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas have fought their biggest battle yet for Syria’s beleaguered president, prompting international alarm that the civil war may spread and an urgent call for restraint from the United States.
About 30 Hezbollah fighters were killed on Sunday, Syrian activists said, along with 20 Syrian troops and militiamen loyal to President Bashar al-Assad during the fiercest fighting this year in the rebel stronghold of Qusair, near the Lebanon border.