News / USA

Syrian Opposition Disputes Prevent Decision on Peace Talks

Louay al-Safi, spokesman for the Syrian National Coalition (L), speaks during a news conference in Istanbul May 26, 2013.
Louay al-Safi, spokesman for the Syrian National Coalition (L), speaks during a news conference in Istanbul May 26, 2013.
VOA News
Syria's main opposition coalition has held an unscheduled fourth day of meetings in Istanbul (Turkey) as internal disputes prevent it from deciding whether to join a U.S. and Russian-backed peace conference with Damascus.

Syrian National Coalition members on Sunday said the main dispute concerns whether to grant Saudi Arabia a bigger role in the group, by expanding its membership to include Saudi-backed opposition figures such as veteran dissident Michel Kilo. They said the Qatar-backed Muslim Brotherhood faction of the coalition is resisting such an expansion.

Qatar has exerted a greater influence over the Syrian opposition coalition to date, by acting as a chief contributor of money and weapons to rebels fighting a two-year rebellion against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Syrian opposition sources said that if the coalition can agree on an expanded membership, it also must decide the fate of its prime minister Ghassan Hitto, who has not been able to form a provisional government for Syria. They said resolving the leadership and membership issues would allow the coalition to respond formally to the U.S. and Russian plan for a Syrian peace conference in Geneva next month.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem said Sunday his government has agreed "in principle" to attend the proposed conference, calling it "a good opportunity to resolve the Syrian crisis."

Washington and Moscow have said they want the Assad government and the opposition to negotiate the formation of a transitional government that would lead Syria out of its civil war, which has killed more than 80,000 people.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov are due to meet in Paris Monday to discuss how to move forward with the peace conference.

Syrian government forces have been fighting to recapture the strategic rebel town of Qusair in recent days in an apparent bid to strengthen Mr. Assad's position ahead of peace talks.

An amateur video posted to the Internet Sunday showed a purported Syrian government air strike on Qusair. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said fighting in Qusair killed at least 27 rebels and three civilians on Saturday.

Syrian troops backed by Lebanese Hezbollah militants have unleashed heavy artillery and tank fire on the Sunni Muslim town near the Lebanese border. Qusair's capture would mark a significant victory for Mr. Assad because it is located along a highway linking Damascus to the Mediterranean coast, a stronghold of his minority Alawite sect.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Naseer Ahmad from: Kabul
May 29, 2013 12:57 AM
Two years ago Syria was a peaceful country. most people in the Islamic countries think that why such a devastating war begun in the Syria and who support and benefit this war. Bashar doesnt know what he is doing. He lets Syria to be devastated and its resorces be lost. At the end there will be a destroied country with a tired, damaged and needy people. If the government and rebel know that they are misusing and they are heading wrong direction they can rescue there country.

by: MUSTAFA from: INDIA
May 27, 2013 2:01 AM
This is very sad situation. I have mentioned in my previous comments that opposition main target to capture power and then enjoy their life with the blessing of west. They do not have brain to think how to solve Syrian problems. They are just united because of backing of west with DOLLAR and weapons to change regime and that is all. Do yo think this is not terrorism, because this is supported by west so this is not terrorism, this is freedom fight for POOR SYRIAN PEOPLES.Just to obtain our personal goals we did this drama and not for syrian peoples this is very sad story.

History will record all these acts and all these MAIN characters will remain in hell because MY GOD knows the true story behind this big drame for more then three years. MY GOD will not make any mistake in judgement and he will give award according to our acts in this world.Can we live without water and electricity.........BIG NO. This opposition who is holding this conference in complete ac hotel with complete security can imagine problem of syrian peoples never ever. They are working on west agenda to destroy syria completely and then they will start with IRAN. Because IRAN never take dictation like SAUDI ARABIA, QATAR,UAE, BAHRAIN,KUWAIT and so many ideal puppel govt to serve west interest in their region.
In Response

by: Julian Leonard from: Manchester UK
May 27, 2013 8:03 AM
Trust me, most people in the West do not want involvement in Syria. They did not want involvement in Iraq or Libya. Even the minority that do are simply making that decision based on an uncritical acceptance of the simplistic good versus bad rhetoric of populist politicians and mainstream media. There is no democratic mechanism here in the West by which changes in our disgraceful and murderous foreign policy can be changed. The only issues upon which we seem to be able to vote upon every four or five years is the colour of the tie our next bunch of dictators wear!

Democracy is a sham here, hijacked by those made powerful by an economic system in which there is no negative feedback function so, the rich simply get more rich, more powerful, and increasingly able to increasingly distort the law and decision-making process for their own benefit. They get away with it because they are much more devious, mendacious and sophisticated in their control than the Disneyesque puppets like Hussein and Assad they create to make war with.

I'm not a believer in God myself but, if I were I'd believe in the Devil too and, I'd suspect we're living in a world in which money and power has led to it being ruled and run by devils and, that being the case, I could only hope you're right and, in some other spiritual dimension, these truly inhuman people are judged and punished accordingly.


by: JKF from: Ottawa, Canada
May 26, 2013 8:31 PM
The continued inability of the opposition to unite, just shows that they lack credibility. While they are looking after their own selfish standing, thousands of Syrians are dying. If after 80,000 dead, mostly massacred Sunni civilians, by Assad's big weapons, this opposition can't get its political act together, one can only classify them as a bunch of uncaring people, that do not understand, nor have the most rudimentary, or most basic leadership attributes. One can only feel great pity, for the poor civilians, in Syria, that they have such bad luck, not just because of the civil war, but because of such poor quality leaders. In reality, only a negotiated settlement, starting with a ceasefire, may bring the terrible civil war to an end soon; the alternative is a continuation of the bloodshed and suffering. This failure to have a credible political leadership, to address the US/Russia peace initiative, is going to cost further support for the opposition's end objectives. Very sad situation for Syrian civilians.

by: Julian Leonard from: Manchester UK
May 26, 2013 8:01 PM
Last month, sympathisers of these Syrian 'rebels' detonated a bomb in Boston killing and maiming many innocent people.

Two weeks ago I see verified footage of 'rebel' commander Abu Sakkar cutting out and eating the very heart from a dead Syrian soldier.

Last week I see two Islamist militants, sympathetic to 'Rebel' groups in Syria, kill -then butcher- a young man in the daylit London street.

Now I read that these same 'Rebel' factions are so divided that they can't even manage agreement to ATTEND talks!

And that this ragtag, motley collection of unknowns which include spivs, terrorists, cut-throats and war-criminals are being supported, armed and given the opportunity to control an entire sovereign nation on the very borders of Europe makes me wonder for the sanity of the politicians we have given the authority to 'lead' us.

by: Don wv from: US
May 26, 2013 7:15 PM
Syrian rebels will never join any peace plan! As a peace plan would give the Syrian people a vote and a voice. The rebels (aka terrorist) wants a dictator like in Egypt!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More