Syria

Discord Growing Between Syrian Opposition Elements

Rebels within country not happy with decisions by exiles

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Opposition groups on the ground in Syria slammed their counterparts in exile for undermining the rebellion and lacking legitimacy, laying bare chronic divisions among the foes of President Bashar al-Assad ahead of a planned peace conference.

A meeting of the exiled National Coalition members in Turkey has so far failed to agree to attend the Geneva conference, provisionally planned for June, or who should represent them, and is deadlocked over Western-backed proposals to widen its membership.

Dismayed by the "ongoing discord", a statement by four leading opposition groups in Syria dismissed the meeting in Istanbul as a "feeble attempt to add persons … that have no real impact on the revolution" and said at least half the coalition's leadership bodies should be made of "revolutionary forces".