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Syrian Opposition

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.
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.
November 11, 2012 | Patrick J. McDonnell and Rima Marrouch, Los Angeles Times
BEIRUT - The deeply divided Syrian opposition took a step toward renewed unity Sunday, forming a new coalition designed to build stronger international support for its goal of ousting the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad. After more than a week of sometimes contentious discussions in the Qatari capital, Doha, Syrian dissidents said they had come together and formed an alliance with an unwieldy title: the Syrian National Coalition for Opposition and Revolutionary Forces.
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.
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.
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.
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...
June 11, 2013 | By Raja Abdulrahim
Syrian government forces backed by Hezbollah fighters have begun an offensive near the once-commercial city of Aleppo to cut off the rebels' supply line from Turkey and attempt to regain control of the north. It comes a week after the government and its Lebanese-Shiite allies reclaimed the strategic town of Qusair, near the Lebanese border, from the opposition. In Aleppo province, the opposition has made steady gains over the last year, controlling about half of Aleppo city and much of the province.
November 9, 2012 | By Patrick J. McDonnell, Los Angeles Times
BEIRUT - Syrian President Bashar Assad predicted a global catastrophe should the West invade his country, and representatives of Syria's notoriously divided opposition struggled Thursday to form a united government in exile against Assad's beleaguered rule. The International Committee of the Red Cross, meanwhile, said it could no longer cope with the fast-expanding humanitarian crisis in Syria, where a raging civil conflict has left millions in need of shelter, medical aid, food and other necessities.
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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