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Syrian opposition talks open in Saudi Arabia

Rebel groups meet in Riyadh to find common ground ahead of possible talks to remove Assad regime from power

Smoke billows from buildings following a reported air strike in Damascus' rebel-held suburb of Zamalka on December 6, 2015. (AFP/AMER ALMOHIBANY)
Smoke billows from buildings following a reported air strike in Damascus' rebel-held suburb of Zamalka on December 6, 2015. (AFP/AMER ALMOHIBANY)

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Syrian opposition groups began unprecedented talks in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday, official media said, in a difficult attempt to unify ahead of potential talks with President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

“The meeting saw a broad participation of Syrian opposition groups inside and outside Syria,” the Saudi Press Agency said.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir welcomed the delegates to the closed-door meeting and expressed hope for successful talks.

He then left and the Syrians began meeting among themselves, an effort expected to continue until Thursday.

Representatives of Syria’s various political opposition groups and military factions fighting Assad’s regime are holding talks for the first since the Syrian war began in 2011.

They are gathered at a heavily secured luxury hotel in the Saudi capital.

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