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Syrian Opposition Meet in Saudi Arabia to Close Ranks

  • Associated Press

FILE - A Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighter (L) provides cover for his fellow fighter during an offensive to seize Aleppo's town of Khanasir.

FILE - A Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighter (L) provides cover for his fellow fighter during an offensive to seize Aleppo's town of Khanasir.

Syrian opposition groups and rebel factions are set to meet in the Saudi capital of Riyadh in an effort to form a unified front ahead of proposed peace talks with Syrian President Bashar Assad's government.

Wednesday's meeting takes place under the auspices of Saudi Arabia, a backer of Sunni opposition blocs pushing for Assad's ouster. The nearly five-year civil war has killed more than a quarter of a million people and triggered a refugee crisis of massive proportions.

Among those expected to attend are representatives of the Western-backed opposition group, the Syrian National Coalition, and the Syria-based National Coordination Body, as well as rebel factions like the Western-backed Free Syrian Army, the Saudi-backed Jaysh al-Islam and the ultraconservative Ahrar al-Sham.

Notably absent are Kurdish factions, which said they weren't invited.

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