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Syrian Opposition

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WORLD
November 19, 2012 | By Henry Chu
LONDON - The European Union threw its political weight behind a newly formed Syrian opposition coalition Monday in a boost to efforts to unite the many factions trying to bring down the regime of President Bashar Assad. The Syrian National Coalition for Opposition and Revolutionary Forces was created this month and comprises dissidents drawn from both inside and outside the embattled Middle Eastern nation, as well as from various religious and ethnic minorities. “The EU considers them legitimate representatives of the aspirations of the Syrian people,” European foreign ministers said in a statement after their monthly summit Monday in Brussels.
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WORLD
March 28, 2014 | By Kathleen Hennessey and Christi Parsons
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia -- President Obama is weighing whether to allow shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles to be shipped to moderate factions of the Syrian opposition, possibly with help from the Saudi government, a U.S. official said Friday. Obama is considering sending man-portable air defense systems, known as “manpads,” along with other supplies to help opposition groups fighting the brutal regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, said the official, who requested anonymity to talk about the internal White House discussions.
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WORLD
March 24, 2013 | By Patrick J. McDonnell and Nabih Bulos
BEIRUT - The head of the major, U.S.-backed Syrian opposition coalition resigned his post Sunday, a blow to a group that the United States and other nations have called the legitimate representative of the Syrian people. The departure of the charismatic Moaz Khatib again highlights how Syrian dissidents have failed to surmount the deep fissures that have long divided the opposition movement. In Sunday's statement, Khatib said he had always maintained he would step down if certain “red lines” were crossed, but he provided no specifics - a void that triggered frantic speculation on social media.
WORLD
March 26, 2014 | By Raja Abdulrahim
BEIRUT -- Syria's main opposition political group was rebuffed Wednesday by the Arab League, which denied the group's request to occupy Syria's seat in the 22-member body. The organization recognized the Syrian National Coalition as the legal representative of the Syrian people and will allow it to participate in meetings "on an exceptional basis,” Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby said on the second day of a two-day summit in Kuwait. But the opposition coalition, which has formed a transitional government, had hoped for more.
WORLD
January 30, 2013 | By Patrick J. McDonnell
BEIRUT -- Divisions and internal differences continue to plague the fractured Syrian opposition. The latest sign of discord comes in a Facebook post by Moaz Khatib, the Islamic scholar and former petroleum  engineer named in November as the head of the newly minted dissident umbrella group, the National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces. In the  Facebook comment that surfaced Wednesday, Khatib, seemed to cross a kind of Syrian Rubicon by suggesting  he would be willing to negotiate with representatives of the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad in a bid to end the almost two-year rebellion.
WORLD
February 28, 2013 | By Henry Chu and Patrick J. McDonnell
ROME -- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry pledged an additional $60 million in aid to Syrian opposition forces Thursday, including food and medical support directly to armed rebels for the first time but turning aside their demand for weapons. Kerry, on his first foreign trip as America's top diplomat, said that the extra assistance would help "the legitimate voice of the Syrian people," who have been trying in vain for nearly two years to topple President Bashar Assad. Kerry said Assad had "long ago lost his legitimacy...and must be out of power.
WORLD
March 26, 2014 | By Raja Abdulrahim
BEIRUT -- Syria's main opposition political group was rebuffed Wednesday by the Arab League, which denied the group's request to occupy Syria's seat in the 22-member body. The organization recognized the Syrian National Coalition as the legal representative of the Syrian people and will allow it to participate in meetings "on an exceptional basis,” Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby said on the second day of a two-day summit in Kuwait. But the opposition coalition, which has formed a transitional government, had hoped for more.
WORLD
March 26, 2013 | By Patrick J. McDonnell
BEIRUT -- A major Syrian opposition coalition took a seat as the legitimate government of Syria at an Arab League summit Tuesday, and the group's outgoing leader promptly pushed for the United States to use Patriot missile-defense batteries against Syrian warplanes. Moaz Khatib, who resigned from the opposition coalition on Sunday amid reports of deep divisions in its ranks, said he put the Patriot missile request to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry during a meeting last month in Rome.
WORLD
December 28, 2012 | By Sergei L. Loiko, This post has been updated. See the note below for details.
MOSCOW -- Russia is ready to meet with leaders of the opposition group seeking to overthrow Moscow's ally, Syrian President Bashar Assad, a high Russian official confirmed Friday. "We expressed readiness to meet with [the National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces] head A. M. al Khatib and are still inclined to do it,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said during a news conference in Moscow after meeting with his Egyptian counterpart, Mohamed Kamel Amr. “We understand that they don't have objections to the proposal to meet.” Russia has long been one of Assad's staunchest supporters, along with Iran.
WORLD
January 16, 2014 | By Paul Richter
WASHINGTON - Secretary of State John F. Kerry pleaded Thursday with Syrian opposition groups not to drop out of a peace conference scheduled to convene next week to begin the process of setting up a new government for their war-scarred country. With an umbrella group preparing to vote Friday on whether to attend, Kerry said at an impromptu news conference at the State Department that the Syrian government wouldn't be able to impose new leadership that is against the wishes of the opposition.
WORLD
January 27, 2014 | By Patrick J. McDonnell
GENEVA -- Peace talks aimed at ending the Syrian war hit an impasse Monday when the most contentious issue -- the future governing structure -- came up for discussion between representatives of President Bashar Assad and the U.S.-backed opposition. However, neither side walked out of the conference, and the United Nations mediator, Lakhdar Brahimi, said he expected that talks between the two sides would resume on Tuesday. Monday marked the third day of the U.N.-sponsored talks and the first that included discussion of the political future of Syria, a volatile issue at the core of the civil war. The Syrian opposition and its supporters, including Washington, view the talks as a means of forcing Assad to cede power after almost three years of destructive civil war. The government says Assad has no intention of stepping down and has tried to shift the focus to fighting terrorism.
WORLD
January 18, 2014 | By Patrick J. McDonnell
BEIRUT - Despite deep divisions, the major U.S.-backed Syrian opposition bloc voted Saturday to participate in peace talks scheduled to begin next week in Switzerland, ending months of uncertainty about whether the group would attend the long-anticipated negotiations. “We are going to the conference without heads held high for those who are witnessing the most heinous massacres in history,” a sullen Ahmad Jarba, the coalition president, told reporters gathered at a hotel outside Istanbul, Turkey, where the opposition delegates gathered.
WORLD
January 16, 2014 | By Paul Richter
WASHINGTON - Secretary of State John F. Kerry pleaded Thursday with Syrian opposition groups not to drop out of a peace conference scheduled to convene next week to begin the process of setting up a new government for their war-scarred country. With an umbrella group preparing to vote Friday on whether to attend, Kerry said at an impromptu news conference at the State Department that the Syrian government wouldn't be able to impose new leadership that is against the wishes of the opposition.
WORLD
December 10, 2013 | By Patrick J. McDonnell, This post has been updated. See the note below for details.
BEIRUT -- A prominent Syrian opposition activist lawyer, Razan Zeitouneh, and three of her colleagues have been kidnapped in a mostly rebel-controlled suburb of Damascus, according to fellow activists and media accounts Tuesday. Also Tuesday, relatives of a pair of Spanish journalists revealed that the reporter-photographer team had been kidnapped by Islamist rebels in northern Syria, adding to a string of abductions of journalists inside the war-torn nation. Kidnapping of Syrians and foreigners has become a common occurrence in rebel-held swaths of the country, where power is wielded by various armed groups, some linked to Al Qaeda.
OPINION
September 8, 2013 | By Peter Galbraith
The Obama administration - with the backing of key Republicans in Congress - is poised to embark on a strategy that entails punitive airstrikes on Syrian government positions and stepped-up lethal aid to moderate elements of the Syrian opposition. So far, however, the Syrian opposition has been unable to win significant support from the country's ethnic and religious minorities. Without such support, the opposition is unlikely to prevail even with stepped-up U.S. assistance. Moreover, the inability of the Syrian rebels, who are almost all Sunni Muslim Arabs, to win over the country's Kurds, Alawites and Christians raises the question of whether their victory is even desirable.
WORLD
September 6, 2013 | Raja Abdulrahim and Patrick J. McDonnell
Syrian rebel forces say they are planning a nationwide offensive in conjunction with anticipated U.S. strikes against the forces of President Bashar Assad, seeking to use U.S. military might to force a decisive shift in the country's long civil war. Rebel commanders disagree on the level of coordination they expect with the U.S. and its allies, and made it clear they hope the United States will do more than launch the limited strikes President Obama...
WORLD
September 5, 2011 | By Ellen Knickmeyer, Los Angeles Times
Almost half a year into Syria's deadly military campaign against street protesters, the United States and Europe remained locked in a strategy of economic sanctions and diplomatic pressure to respond to the violence and try to push President Bashar Assad from power. Leaders of Syria's protest movement stay locked into their own strategy as well. Each day, they stage sit-ins and unarmed marches that are met by gunfire and, in some cases, tank assaults. Security forces stage house-to-house raids.
WORLD
February 7, 2012 | By Patrick J. McDonnell and Rima Marrouch, Los Angeles Times
Syrian government forces pressing a ferocious crackdown shelled the central city of Homs on Monday, opposition activists said, destroying a makeshift clinic and leaving dozens dead in a town that has been a hotbed of antigovernment resistance. The government of President Bashar Assad denied any involvement in an assault and said "terrorists" had attacked its forces. In Washington, the State Department announced that it was suspending operations at the U.S. Embassy in the Syrian capital of Damascus because of "growing safety risks.
WORLD
August 21, 2013 | By Patrick J. McDonnell and Shashank Bengali
BEIRUT - In what the opposition called the worst atrocity of Syria's civil war, antigovernment activists accused the government of killing hundreds of civilians, including many women and children, in a poison-gas attack targeting pro-rebel Damascus suburbs. The Syrian government called reports of a massacre untrue, but the scale of the alleged carnage and the graphic videos of the dead and injured that surfaced Wednesday left many officials across the globe demanding action. If verified, such a massive gas attack could alter the international response to the war that has raged since March 2011.
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