• Saturday, Dec 03, 2022
  • Last Update : 10:24 am

Al Qaeda Adds Urgency To Search For Syrian Peace

  • Published at 07:32 am April 15th, 2013
Al Qaeda Adds Urgency To Search For Syrian Peace

International powers will search for a peaceful settlement to Syria's civil war with fresh urgency at an Istanbul meeting after a rebel faction aligned itself with al Qaeda, diplomats and opposition sources said on Sunday.

Saturday's meeting of 11 countries from the Friends of Syria alliance will come after the al-Nusra Front, among the strongest formations seeking to topple President Bashar al-Assad, pledged allegiance to al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri on April 10.

Western powers, which want to see the end of the Assad family's 43-year rule but do not want to intervene militarily in Syria, have been alarmed by the advance of groups like the Nusra Front in a conflict which has deepened the Middle East's sectarian divide.

Among those invited to Istanbul will be Moaz Alkhatib, a moderate cleric from Damascus, who said he was resigning as head of the Syrian National Coalition in March after other members of the main opposition group attacked his proposal for negotiating with Assad, the sources said.

Envoys representing most of the 11 Friends of Syria countries met in Cairo this month to press Alkhatib to stay on as leader of Coalition, a 60-member opposition umbrella group backed by the West and Gulf Arab states, the sources said.

The Istanbul meeting, whose full agenda has not been finalized, will also discuss how to pressure Assad, who has been backed by Iran and Russia, into accepting a negotiated settlement, the diplomats said.

"The international powers are inclined to call Assad's bluff and see if he is ready to accept a peaceful solution," a diplomat said, adding that Russia might also favor such a move.

The conflict, which pits the Sunni Muslim majority against Assad's supporters among his Alawite sect, has prompted both Sunni and Shi'ite militants from elsewhere in the Middle East to fight in Syria. The Alawite sect is an offshoot of Shi'ite Islam.

In February, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem said in Moscow that Assad's government was ready for talks with rebels. But fighting intensified and rebels made gains particularly in Syria's east, which accounts for all the country's oil output and most of its grains production.

The Istanbul meeting will be attended by representatives from Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, United Arab Emirates as well as Qatar, and Saudi Arabia - the two main Arab powers backing the two year revolt. From the West, the United States, Britain, Germany, Italy and France will attend, the sources said.

Witnesses say fighting intensified in the last few days in the Qusair region along the Syrian-Lebanese border in the Bekaa Valley between Syrian Shi'ite militia backed by Assad's ally Hezbollah and Sunni rebel fighters. The conflict has killed more than 70,000 people.

50
Facebook 50
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail