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Syria opposition to prepare for 'Friends of Syria' meeting

Syrian opposition to meet in Istanbul for follow up 'Friends of Syria' meeting as divisions take place between Syrian Opposition Council members, after 14 members resign

AFP , Thursday 22 Mar 2012
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Various factions of the Syrian opposition will meet early next week in Istanbul to coordinate their requests for support prior to the second conference of "Friends of Syria" on 1 April.

"The goal is to prepare for the conference of 'Friends of Syria'," Halit Hoca, a member of the main opponent group Syrian National Council, told AFP Thursday.

He also said that the gathering was likely to be closed to the press.

The meeting of the Syrian opposition comes amid difficulties in forming a united front, with the resignation on 14 March of three members from the SNC, followed by the creation of a new coalition of five small opposition groups three days later.

"All voices of the opposition will meet in Istanbul," Mahmud Osman, another SNC member, said as he signalled that the Syrian regime opponents will search for a united voice at the Istanbul meeting.

On the first day of April, countries aiming to resolve the Syrian crisis will meet to discuss ways to help the Syrian opposition and stop the violent crackdown of President Bashar al-Assad's regime, which killed 9,000 people in one year of unrest, according to monitors.

The first meeting of the "Friends of Syria" was held in Tunis in late February, with participation from around 60 countries, including Western and Arab nations.

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