ISTANBUL - Syria's Western-backed opposition in exile postponed until next week a decision on whether to attend talks with President Bashar Assad's government aimed at ending nearly three years of devastating conflict, opposition members said on Tuesday.

The National Coalition is facing heavy pressure from Western powers to attend the Jan. 22 talks, seen as the most serious effort yet to find a political solution to Syria's civil war.

It has said it is ready to attend the talks in principle, but says they must lead to Assad's departure - a demand which Damascus has flatly rejected - and has repeatedly stalled on its final decision.

The latest delay came after at least a quarter of the coalition called for its newly re-elected president Ahmad al-Jarba to stand down, and threatened to resign if their demand was not met, sources at the meeting said.

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