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U.S. Wants Wider Opposition to Assad
October 31, 2012

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Signaling a possible new direction in American foreign policy, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has issued a call for a more diverse opposition to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Clinton said that talks scheduled in Qatar next week should include not only members of the Syrian National Council, which is largely based outside Syria, but also members of other opposition groups, specifically the ones that are in the thick of the fighting within the country itself. The SNC has many members and representatives and lots of funding, but it has so far been unable to secure few sources of international aid. Meanwhile, members of the Free Syrian Army and the Front to Liberate Syria have been exchanging weapons fire and territory ownership with Syrian government forces, in a civil war conflict that has dragged on for nearly 20 months and killed more than 30,000 people.

The talks, to take place in Doha, will be another attempt at forging some kind of concerted response to Assad's ongoing lethal response to voiced opposition to his decades-long rule. But Clinton was clear that the American response would continue to be a strategy to pressure Syria economically and politically, while also providing humanitarian assistance.

In a related development, China, which has more than once vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution condemning Assad for his military's actions, called for a unilateral cease-fire and a transitional government. Saying that a political solution was the desired result, China also voiced its support for Lakhdar Brahimi, the U.N. peace envoy to Syria who secured a cease-fire that lasted mere hours last week.






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