Syrian opposition to hold unity talks in Qatar
Hundreds of Syrian opposition politicians are to meet Sunday in the Qatari capital Doha in a bid to forge a unified political and military front against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, DPA reported.
The deeply divided Syrian opposition has recently come under fire from its key backer, the United States, who is working on a proposal to revamp the Syrian National Council (SNC), the main opposition bloc.
Under the proposal, which is called the Syrian National Initiative, a 50-member opposition group is to be created comprising members of the rebel Free Syrian Army as well as political groups inside and outside Syria.
The proposal was floated by Riad Seif, a prominent Syrian dissident, who is seen as a hot favourite to lead a transitional government in Syria, said opposition sources.
"The council's members will attend the (Doha) conference to discuss the new initiative, but the council has not yet made a decision on it," Naji Tayyra, a SNC member, told dpa.
According to the proposal, the SNC would be included in the new entity, but with less influence.
Since its formation, the SNC has been plagued by divisions, which have angered the US and the West, who strongly back the 20-month uprising against al-Assad's regime.
In Cairo, the international peace envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi is also to meet the head of the Arab League Nabil al-Arabi, the pan-Arab bloc said.
Later in the day both are to hold talks on Syria with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, added the organization. Russia is a key ally of al-Assad's regime.
On the ground in Syria, fierce clashes erupted between government troops and rebels in the northern city of Aleppo, reported the opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
At least 220 people were killed Saturday in violence across Syria, according to the London-based watchdog.