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Syrian opposition groups meet to forge strategy

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
November 7th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

As the Syrian conflict rages on, rebels and opposition groups - opposed to the brutal regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have made significant gains in the past weeks and months. The groups now hold swathes of territory in the country's north. While these groups struggle to gain a foothold in the country's main urban hubs of Aleppo and Damascus, these groups have met in the Qatari capital of Doha to forge a more united front against Assad's regime.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - At the meeting of the opposition Syrian National Council SNC in Qatar, representatives from the United States are reportedly pressing for a new umbrella organization to unite the country's fractured opposition.

Syria's main opposition bloc agreed this week to broaden its structure to accommodate 13 other groups, a spokesman said.  Participants "have agreed a restructuring plan and to reduce the number of [current] members of the general secretariat to accommodate 200 new members representing 13 political groups and independents," SNC spokesman Ahmad Kamel says.

Meanwhile in Syria, the violence roils on. At least 50 Syrian army soldiers have been killed by a suicide car bomb in the central province of Hama. At least 20 rebel fighters were killed in an air strike in the northwest province of Idlib.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the bombing in the village of Ziyara in Hama province was carried out by Jabhat al-Nusra, an armed group that has claimed several attacks on regime targets.

A car bomb exploded in the western district of Mezzeh in Damascus, killing 11 and wounding dozens more, state-run news agency SANA reported.

The Observatory says that at least 20 rebel fighters were killed when Syrian air force jets bombarded the town of Haram in the northern province of Idlib.

At least 192 people were killed in Monday's violence in Syria, the Observatory said, including 53 civilians, 85 soldiers and 54 rebels.

Fighting broke out in Aleppo at a roundabout at the northwest entrance to the city in the Zahraa district and on the airport road to the southeast.

"It's been almost one week that we are living in terror at night. We hear everything - gun battles, tank shelling, explosions ... The clashes before dawn today were the worst all week," a resident of a district near Zahraa said.

Members of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent say that its main warehouse in Aleppo had burned down amid recent fighting, with the loss of crucial supplies including medicine, food and winter relief items like blankets.

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