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Syrian Opposition

WORLD
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.
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WORLD
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.
WORLD
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.
NEWS
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.
WORLD
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...
WORLD
May 6, 2013 | By Patrick J. McDonnell, This post has been updated. See the note below for details.
BEIRUT - A leading member of a United Nations investigatory commission says there are “strong concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof” that Syrian rebels have used the nerve agent sarin. Carla del Ponte, a former prosecutor for U.N. tribunals investigating war crimes in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, made the comment in an interview Sunday with a Swiss television channel, the BBC reported . The U.N. panel, known as the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria, emphasized in a statement Monday that it had reached no conclusions about the possible use of chemical weapons in Syria's civil war.  “I was a little bit stupefied by the first indications we got ... about the use of nerve gas by the opposition,” Del Ponte told Swiss Italian broadcaster RSI. She said the evidence emerged from interviews conducted by investigators with victims, physicians and others in neighboring countries.
WORLD
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.
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.
OPINION
July 3, 2012
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is putting a positive spin on a new peace plan for Syria agreed to over the weekend in Geneva by the Syria Action Group, which comprises the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council as well as Turkey and Arab representatives. We hope her optimism is justified, but Russia continues to send maddeningly mixed signals about whether it recognizes that the time has come for Syrian President Bashar Assad to step down. Already a humanitarian tragedy, the civil war in Syria now threatens to spill into international conflict.
OPINION
March 1, 2013
President Obama's decision to provide the Syrian opposition with another $60 million in aid - while continuing to withhold weapons - will disappoint those who have argued that the United States should step up its role in the battle to overthrow President Bashar Assad. But the administration is right: Arming the rebels now would be a mistake. On Thursday, Secretary of State John F. Kerry announced the new aid program, which he said would help the Syrian opposition coalition deliver food, medicine, sanitation and education.
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