World News

Syrian Rebels Meet on Possible Geneva Peace Talks

Syria's main rebel bloc, the National Coalition, holds a second day of talks in Istanbul Sunday to decide whether to attend a peace conference in Geneva.

Rebels are resisting coming to the talks. They say they will go only if Syrian President Bashar al-Assad resigns first. But the U.N.-Arab League envoy for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, says there can be no preconditions.

National Coalition member Haitham Al Maleh said Saturday he is skeptical that a Geneva conference could succeed. He repeated that coalition members will not take part if, as he puts it, the Syrian regime continues to "kill people, arrest people and burn the country."

Western officials have said they hope the Geneva meeting can take place before the end of the year.

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VIDEO: Top U.S. intelligence officials warn the Islamic State remains a “formidable and brutal threat” even as coalition airstrikes and fighting on the ground begin to erode its strength. But there are also indications that the constant bombardment is starting to take a more permanent toll. VOA National Security Reporter Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Degraded IS Still 'Formidable and Brutal'

US intelligence, military officials say Islamic State group losing ground in Iraq and perhaps elsewhere More