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Inside Syria

Syrian opposition: Battling on all fronts

We look at the political and military challenges facing those seeking a regime change.

Last Modified: 02 Jun 2013 08:58
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The Syrian National Council (SNC), the main opposition group, has wrapped up its meetings in Istanbul after eight long days of intense negotiations.

They postponed electing a new leader but did agree on an expansion deal to bring more factions into the fold.

As of now, SNC also says it will not take part in proposed international peace talks in Geneva next month.

This struggle among the opposition has a negative impact on the ground, on the Free Syrian Army fighters.  

Colonel Abdel-Hamid Zakaria, Free Syrian Army spokesman

The head of the SNC, George Sabra, announced the decision on Thursday saying they are suspending their participation, until the international community intervenes to end the siege in Qusayr.

The Syrian opposition also is demanding that any negotiation must lead to President Bashar al-Assad's resignation.

Meanwhile, in an interview with Hezbollah's Al-Manar Television, the Syrian president said he is "very confident of victory".

While on the battlefield, fighting remains as fierce as ever. The Syrian opposition says a thousand fighters have arrived to fend off government troops in Qusayr.

There are reports that government forces, supported by Hezbollah fighters, have almost completely regained control of the strategic city. The city has been under the control of rebel forces for months but government soldiers are determined to take it back.  

In Washington, US secretary of state John Kerry appealed to Russia to rethink its shipment of an air defence system to the Syrian government - saying it was a threat to Israel and to the prospect of holding peace talks. 

Kerry was speaking after a meeting with German foreign minister,Guido Westerwelle. The European Union is to lift its arms embargo on the rebels - but Westerwelle says that does not mean shipments are planned.

To discuss the conflict, Inside Syria, with presenter Hazem Sika, is joined by guests: Colonel Abdel-Hamid Zakaria, a spokesman for the Free Syrian Army; Haytham Sbahi, a Syrian political activist; and Louay Safi, a senior member of the Syrian National Coalition.

"The opposition can be criticised as any other organisation [but] particularly it is being put together under very difficult situations .... The difficulty really, is that everytime the opposition tries to put its house in order there is a pressure to bring in new elements that sometimes bring us to the first square."

Louay Safi, Syrian National Coalition member

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Source:
Al Jazeera
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