Syrian Opposition Figures Meet In Damascus 9/24/12
September 24, 2012
Damascus, Syria - Syrian opposition figures who reject foreign intervention in the country's civil war have held a rare meeting in the capital, Damascus, today.
The gathering was tolerated by the regime in an apparent attempt to lend credibility to its claims that it remains open to political reform despite its bloody crackdown on dissent.
The group called for the ouster of President Bashar Assad.
Diplomats from Iran, Russia and China - Assad's main allies - attended the opposition conference. But Syrian rebels and their many backers in the international community are likely to view the meeting as a cosmetic gesture by the Syrian regime.
In recent weeks, Assad's military has escalated airstrikes and shelling of civilian areas to put down an uprising that began 18 months ago with peaceful protests. It has since devolved into a civil war. Activists say close to 30,000 people have been killed.