Syria holds conference for reform; opposition boycotts

Syrian Vice President Faruq al-Shara opened a conference in Damascus Sunday aiming to start a dialogue with the opposition, whose leading members boycotted the event.
Faruq told the conference that he hoped that Sunday's meeting would mark the "start of national dialogue" which will lead Syria into a "pluralistic and democratic country."
At the end of June, the government announced its intention to invite the country's leading intellectuals to talks, promising reform while simultaneously continuing the violent crackdown on anti-government protests across Syria.
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