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Syrian opposition leaders turn their backs to peace talks, citing 'world inaction'

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
February 24th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

As Syria's nearly two-year-old civil war grinds on between government forces and the resistance, the nation's opposition leaders have turned their back on international talks, saying the world's failure to stop the violence is "shameful." The Friends of Syria Meeting in Rome, along with scheduled talks in Russia and the U.S. have led Syria's opposition leaders to declare they will boycott international talks until world leaders come up with a concrete agenda.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - After missiles killed dozens in Aleppo last week, the nation's most prominent opposition group, the Syrian National Coalition (SNC) released a statement saying the boycott was in protest against the lack of international condemnation of the "crimes committed against the Syrian people.
 
"Hundreds of civilians have been killed by Scud missile strikes. Aleppo, the city and the civilization, is being destroyed systematically," the statement said.

Mouaz al-Khatib, the SNC head in Cairo, Egypt, said he was sending out "a message of protest to all governments of the world, Arab and non-Arab that can see how the Syrian people are being killed, while they merely look on."

"All the administrations of the world can see what is happening. ... We cannot visit any country until there is a clear decision on this savage, aggressive regime," Khatib said, addressing the Dubai-based Al-Aan pan-Arab television in Cairo.

"The Russian leadership especially bears moral and political responsibility for supplying the regime with weapons," he said, referring to Russia's status as a leading ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

"In protest of this shameful international stand, the coalition has decided to suspend its participation in the Rome conference for the Friends of Syria and decline the invitations to visit Russia and the United States."

The Friends of Syria is a collection of dozens of countries trying to find a solution to the Syrian crisis.

At least 29 people were killed and dozens more wounded after rockets hit two eastern districts of Aleppo on Friday, according to anti-government activists.

Involving three surface-to-surface missile strikes, the assault caused several buildings to collapse, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), a U.K.-based anti-government rights group. There were children among the dead, the SOHR said.

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