MUNICH - The leader of the Syrian opposition was expected to meet US, Russian and UN officials on Saturday at a Munich conference which may provide a rare chance to overcome differences on how to end Syria's civil war.
US Vice-President Joe Biden, head of the Syrian National Coalition Moaz Alkhatib, UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov were all expected to meet - but not necessarily all at the same table, as the opposition hoped.
Biden lamented the lack of international agreement - between Washington and Moscow in particular - on how to resolve Syria's crisis. But nobody could doubt "the increasingly desperate plight of the Syrian people and the responsibility of the international community to address that plight", he said.
Government forces and rebels clashed again in several areas of Syria including around Damascus but there were no reports of casualties, according to activists and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Biden stressed the need to make the Syrian opposition "more inclusive and cohesive", as dramatized by a challenge on Friday to Alkhatib's authority after he broke ranks to say he would be willing to meet Syrian officials to discuss a transition if political prisoners arrested in the revolt were freed.