• News
  • SAN DIEGO
  • Government

Syrian opposition to attend peace conference

ISTANBUL (AP) -- The main, western-backed Syrian opposition group has voted in favor of attending next week's peace conference aimed at ending the country's bloody civil war.

The Syrian National Coalition's media office said that of 73 voters on Saturday, 58 voted in favor of attending the conference.

The Coalition was under huge pressure from its Western and Arab sponsors to attend the peace talks, scheduled to open Wednesday in the Swiss city of Montreux.

Many Coalition members were hesitant to attend a conference that has little chance of success and will burn the last shred of credibility the group has with powerful rebels on the ground, who reject the talks.

The Syrian government has already said it will attend the talks.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

Food supplies began entering a besieged rebel-held Palestinian refugee camp in Syria's capital Saturday for the first time in months, an apparent goodwill gesture by the government ahead of a coming peace conference, a Palestinian official said.

The flow of food into the Yarmouk refugee camp came as the main Western-backed Syrian opposition group held a meeting Saturday in Istanbul to decide whether to attend the peace conference next week aimed at ending the country's bloody civil war.

The Syrian National Coalition is under huge pressure from its Western and Arab sponsors to attend the peace talks, scheduled to open Wednesday in the Swiss city of Montreux.

Many Coalition members are hesitant to attend a conference that has little chance of success and will burn the last shred of credibility the group has with powerful rebels on the ground, who reject the talks.

The Coalition could make the announcement regarding the peace conference later Saturday. The Syrian government has already said it will attend the talks.

In Damascus, Anwar Raja, a spokesman for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command, said the first batch of supplies entered the Yarmouk camp on Saturday.

Yarmouk is one of the areas hardest hit by food shortages in Syria. Residents there say 46 people have died since October of starvation, illnesses exacerbated by hunger or because they couldn't obtain medical aid.

Raja said hundreds of boxes of food stuff entered the camp. He said much of the material was carried by members of PFLP-GC members and committees in the camp.

“The process is moving slowly since they are being carried on the shoulder to avoid sniper fire,” Raja told The Associated Press in Damascus by telephone.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which has a network of activists around the country, said an elderly man died in the camp earlier Saturday because of the food shortage.

PFLP-GC members are fighting against Syrian opposition fighters who control most of the camp.

Raja said the aim is to send 7,000 boxes for 7,000 families into the camp's rebel-held areas. He added that more food supplies will be sent into the camp in the coming days and later medical supplies will be sent as well.

He said committees in the camp will hand over the food boxes to families by name “so that (opposition) gunmen don't take them.”

___

Mroue reported from Beirut

Leave Your Comment

Comments are moderated by SDDT, in accordance with the SDDT Comment Policy, and may not appear on this commentary until they have been reviewed and deemed appropriate for posting. Also, due to the volume of comments we receive, not all comments will be posted.

SDDT Comment Policy: SDDT encourages you to add a comment to this discussion. You may not post any unlawful, threatening, defamatory, obscene, pornographic or other material that would violate the law. All comments should be relevant to the topic and remain respectful of other authors and commenters. You are solely responsible for your own comments, the consequences of posting those comments, and the consequences of any reliance by you on the comments of others. By submitting your comment, you hereby give SDDT the right, but not the obligation, to post, air, edit, exhibit, telecast, cablecast, webcast, re-use, publish, reproduce, use, license, print, distribute or otherwise use your comment(s) and accompanying personal identifying and other information you provide via all forms of media now known or hereafter devised, worldwide, in perpetuity. SDDT Privacy Statement.

User Response
0 UserComments

Leave Your Comment

Comments are moderated by SDDT, in accordance with the SDDT Comment Policy, and may not appear on this commentary until they have been reviewed and deemed appropriate for posting. Also, due to the volume of comments we receive, not all comments will be posted.

SDDT Comment Policy: SDDT encourages you to add a comment to this discussion. You may not post any unlawful, threatening, defamatory, obscene, pornographic or other material that would violate the law. All comments should be relevant to the topic and remain respectful of other authors and commenters. You are solely responsible for your own comments, the consequences of posting those comments, and the consequences of any reliance by you on the comments of others. By submitting your comment, you hereby give SDDT the right, but not the obligation, to post, air, edit, exhibit, telecast, cablecast, webcast, re-use, publish, reproduce, use, license, print, distribute or otherwise use your comment(s) and accompanying personal identifying and other information you provide via all forms of media now known or hereafter devised, worldwide, in perpetuity. SDDT Privacy Statement.