BEIRUT/AMMAN: An Arab League delegation tasked with restarting dialogue
between President Bashar Assad’s government and the country’s diverse
opposition to end the country’s eight-month crisis arrived in the
capital Damascus Wednesday. But despite claims, the talks were “cordial
and frank,” prospects for dialogue seemed dim, with the government
insisting any talks should take place inside Syria and not at the
League’s Cairo headquarters, and opposition groups insisting conditional
talks would only be aimed at ending Assad’s rule.
Assad met the delegation of Arab ministers, headed by Qatari Prime
Minister Sheikh Hamad al-Thani, as Assad supporters put on another show
of strength with a mass rally at Umayyad Square in central Damascus, and
more reports of violence leading to the deaths of at least 20 people.
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