Influential Syrian opposition bloc to reject peace talks

By REUTERS
January 4, 2014 13:49

 
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ISTANBUL- An influential bloc within the Western-backed Syrian opposition is expected to vote on Saturday against participating in talks aimed at ending the nearly three-year conflict, members said.

The Syrian National Council has opposed attending the Jan. 22 negotiations because it says world powers have not done enough to force President Bashar Assad to cede power.

Assad's forces have been gaining ground against the moderate rebel fighters backed by the opposition in recent months and he currently faces little pressure to make concessions.

The council is part of a broader opposition coalition which is due to make its final decision on whether to attend the Geneva 2 talks on Monday.

A vote by the council to stay away would put further pressure on the fractious coalition, which has said it is ready to attend Geneva 2 in principle, but would not necessarily force its hand.

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