Syrian militias met to agree on peace talks stance

One opposition source said the Islamic Front was not present at the talks in Turkey

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Representatives of major Syrian rebel militias met in Ankara on Saturday to try to agree on a common stance for the upcoming peace talks in Switzerland next week, Reuters cited opposition sources as saying.

Ahmad Al-Jarba, head of the Syrian National Coalition, the main umbrella group of the political opposition in exile, told the SNC’s general assembly in Silivri near Istanbul that the rebel militias had met, a source in the president’s office said. He declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the talks.

One rebel commander had said the Islamic Front was expected to attend the meeting, but another opposition source said the group had not been present at the talks.

There was no additional information regarding the meeting.

The Coalition, meanwhile, is under huge pressure from its Western and Arab sponsors to attend the peace talks, scheduled to open Wednesday in the Swiss city of Montreux.

Many Coalition members are hesitant to attend a conference that has little chance of success and will burn the last shred of credibility the group has with powerful rebels on the ground, who reject the talks.

The Coalition could make the announcement regarding the peace conference later Saturday.

The Syrian government has already said it will attend the talks.

(With Reuters and Associated Press)

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