Syria's Islamic Front rebuffs talks with US

December 18, 2013 17:03

BEIRUT - Islamist rebels fighting in Syria have rejected overtures from the United States to sit down and talk, a senior US diplomat said on Wednesday.

The Syrian government said it was "reprehensible" that Washington was prepared to enter a dialogue with the Islamic Front, which comprises six major Islamist rebel groups and which it considers a terrorist organization.

The developments highlighted the difficulty for Washington in engaging with the faction-ridden rebels in Syria's civil war. With five weeks to go until UN peace talks in Geneva, it is unclear who will represent the opposition, and the clock is ticking towards a Dec. 27 deadline set by UN mediator Lakhdar Brahimi to name delegations.

"The Islamic Front has refused to sit with us without giving any reason," US Syria envoy Robert Ford told Al Arabiya television, a day after Secretary of State John Kerry said talks might take place.

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