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Syrian Opposition

February 25, 2013 | By Janet Stobart
LONDON -- John Kerry used the first stop on his first foreign tour as secretary of state to urge Syrian opposition parties to join a proposed meeting this week in Rome that will seek solutions to that country's protracted civil war. Joined by his British counterpart, Foreign Secretary William Hague, Kerry stressed the urgency of working with Britain and the U.N. toward peace in Syria and the broader Middle East. Referring to the meeting later this week of the Friends of Syria, a group of countries seeking a resolution to the Syrian crisis, Kerry said: “I want our friends in the Syrian opposition council to know we are not coming to Rome simply to talk.
May 24, 2013 | By Patrick J. McDonnell
BEIRUT - Syrian President Bashar Assad's government has agreed “in principle” to participate in a U.S.-Russian sponsored peace conference aimed at ending the violence in Syria, Russia officials said Friday. Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich told reporters in Moscow that Assad's administration had agreed to take part in the session. No precise date has been set, but reports indicate that the sponsors are hopeful of conducting the conference early next month in Geneva.
February 27, 2013 | By Patrick J. McDonnell
BEIRUT - The Syrian government appeared to make a significant concession to the opposition Wednesday, agreeing to renew the passports of millions of Syrians living abroad. A leading dissident figure had publicly pressed for the change. The state-run news service announced that the Interior Ministry had directed that expired passports be renewed for two years “regardless of the reasons that had earlier prevented their renewal, and without obtaining the necessary authorizations.” The pro-government daily Al Watan reported that the decision had been communicated to Syrian embassies abroad.
April 30, 2013 | By Patrick J. McDonnell
BEIRUT -- The head of the powerful Hezbollah movement vowed Tuesday that the Lebanese group and other allies of Syrian President Bashar Assad would not allow the government in Damascus to be overthrown. “Syria has real friends, in the region and the world, that will not let it fall into  the hands of America, Israel and Takfiri groups,” Hassan Nasrallah, general-secretary of the Shiite Muslim organization, said in a televised address. The reference to Takfiris was an allusion to Al Qaeda and other  Sunni Muslim extremists who  denounce Shiites as apostates and view Hezbollah as a mortal enemy.  Nasrallah has repeatedly charged that such extremists are prominent in the Sunni-led Syrian rebel forces seeking to oust Assad.
December 29, 2012 | By Sergei L. Loiko
MOSCOW -- Syrian President Bashar Assad has no intention of leaving his country and rebels for the time being should put aside the demand that he step aside as a precondition for negotiations, Russia's top diplomat said Saturday following a meeting in Moscow with the United Nations' peace envoy to the conflict. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said envoy Lakhdar Brahimi told him that Assad was determined to “stay in his position to the end and will protect Syrian people, Syrian sovereignty and so on and so forth and there is no chance to change his position.” Brahimi met with the Syrian leader this week before traveling on to Moscow.
March 7, 2013 | By Patrick J. McDonnell
BEIRUT -- Negotiations were underway Thursday between the United Nations and rebel forces in an effort to secure the release of 21 U.N. peacekeepers being held in southern Syria near the Golan Heights, a Syrian opposition group said. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said it had received word from the rebel battalion responsible for the abduction that insurgents were negotiating with delegates from the U.N. and from the Arab League. There was no official confirmation of talks from either  organization.
March 19, 2013 | By Patrick J. McDonnell
BEIRUT -- The major Syrian opposition group early Tuesday elected a U.S.-educated Syrian activist to serve as prime minister of rebel-controlled areas of Syria, news agencies reported. Named to the post was Ghassan Hitto, a native of Damascus who has been living in the United States for decades, working recently as a technology executive, according to various news service reports. Hitto, little known outside Syrian exile circles, has been active in humanitarian efforts to aid Syrians during the nation's two-year conflict, reports indicated.
November 14, 2012 | By Rima Marrouch
The Syrian National Coalition, a new body that aims to unite the Syrian opposition, is slowly gaining recognition from groups in the country. The coalition was formed Sunday after a week of opposition meetings in Doha, capital of Qatar . Opposition groups have been posting statements of support to its official Facebook page . The administrator of the official page posted that the National Coalition had so far received almost 100 statements of...
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.
October 3, 2011 | By Patrick J. McDonnell, Los Angeles Times
The Syrian government on Monday blamed "terrorist" attackers for killing the son of a prominent Sunni Muslim cleric and declared that its forces had seized a large number of weapons near the Turkish border. The developments come as the strategically situated Arab country suffers a wave of what appear to be targeted assassinations and intense urban battles, some reportedly involving army defectors. There are fears that the unrest, inspired in part by "Arab Spring" protests elsewhere in the region, may be the start of a new and bloodier chapter in Syria's violence.
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