A gathering of Syrian opposition groups has rejected dialogue with the Bashar Al- Assad regime, setting the Syrian president's resignation as a precondition to any peaceful settlement to the ongoing conflict, dpa reported.
In a meeting in the Jordanian capital headed by former Syrian prime minister Riyad Hijab late Thursday, various Syrian political factions unanimously rejected attempts to mediate dialogue with Damascus, according to Hijab's press office.
Participants, which according to activists included representatives of the Free Syrian Army, the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood and high-ranking defectors, announced that "the departure of Al Assad is a precondition to any dialogue with the goal of arriving at a non-military solution, if this is still possible," according to a statement released late Friday.
According to Hijab, who has quietly emerged as a leading Syrian opposition figure since his defection to Jordan in August, the meeting aimed to unify the efforts of the Syrian opposition and "secure regional, international and Arab support to topple the Assad regime."
Sources close to the deliberations say the meeting was a bid to unite ranks of the Syrian opposition ahead of a critical conference in the Qatari capital of Doha, which observers expect to yield a new opposition umbrella body.
Also during the meeting, opposition figures discussed the potential makeup of an interim government, and the timelines for parliamentary and presidential elections in a post-Assasd Syria according to the source.
One of the more divisive issues during the gathering was the fate of the various security apparatuses currently tied to the Al-Assad regime's inner circle.
Sources say participants remained divided whether various military and intelligence services should be dissolved - similar to the controversial de-Bathification of the Iraqi military following the 2003 US-led invasion - or incorporated into a post-Assad Syria.
Thursday's gathering marked the latest in a series of low-profile meetings between Syrian political groups and Hijab, who due to his lack of prior political activism enjoys broad support among the highly-factious Syrian opposition.
Syrian activists say Hijab has risen as a consensus candidate to head the new opposition body, expected to be launched from Doha on Wednesday and serve as an interim government in a post-Assad era.