World News

Syrian National Council Agrees to Attend Peace Talks with Government

The main Syrian political opposition group has voted to attend internationally sponsored peace talks next week in Switzerland.

The Syrian National Coalition's media office says 58 of 73 coalition voters have supported attending the so-called Geneva 2 talks with representatives of President Bashar al-Assad's government.

Another 44 who had initially attended the session had withdrawn and did not vote.

The opposition groups meeting in Istanbul Saturday were under heavy U.S. pressure to attend the upcoming Geneva conference, which is aimed at forming a transitional government.

Many opposition leaders have refused to attend talks without a prior commitment that President Bashar al-Assad would step down.



The Syrian government considers all rebel forces to be terrorists, and has tried to shift the focus of the peace talks from forming a new government to fighting extremism.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry warned the Syrian president Friday the U.S. is not out of options to pressure his government to comply with the goals set in the first Geneva conference.

Kerry has said the talks are the "best opportunity for the opposition to achieve the goals of the Syrian people and the revolution."

Meanwhile, Syria's government says it has given Russia a plan for a cease-fire in the country's largest city of Aleppo and an exchange of prisoners with Syrian rebels.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said during his visit to Moscow Friday he had turned over the proposals in preparation for peace talks with the rebels.

Feature Story

Turkish Kurds warm themselves around an open fire as they watch the Syrian town of Kobani, near the Mursitpinar border crossing, on the Turkish-Syrian border in the southeastern town of Suruc, Turkey, Oct. 21, 2014.

Photogallery Syrian Kurds Push Back on Turkish Plan

Ankara plan is to allow Peshmerga forces from northern Iraq to transit Turkish territory to enter besieged Syrian border town of Kobani to help in its defense More

Special Reports