Analysis

Syria: Opposition Relents on Peace Talks With Kerry
British Foreign Secretary William Hague (right) and new U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry leave Number 10 Downing Street yesterday after a meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron. A focus of the meeting was the crisis in Syria. (BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)
February 26, 2013
| Security
| Middle East and North Africa
Summary
The Syrian opposition coalition reluctantly cancelled its boycott of a peace conference on the Syrian crisis to be held on February 27 in Rome, reportedly hoping that the involvement of new U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will result in more pressure on the Assad regime and increased assistance. However, this move was probably mostly in deference to Kerry’s diplomatic debut and does not reflect any real expectation by the rebels that international support for their efforts to overthrow the Assad regime will really change.
As violence in Syria continues to escalate and rebels reportedly gain control of a destroyed nuclear reactor site, a spokesperson from the Assad regime added a new wrinkle to the Syrian crisis by announcing that the government would be willing to negotiate with the opposition, marking its first such commitment since the conflict began two year ago. The Syrian opposition has not formally rejected this idea, although rebel commanders strongly oppose it.
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