US Tries to Keep Syrian Rebels From Boycotting Rome Conference

Rebel Leadership Spurns US, Russian Offers for Talks

by Jason Ditz, February 24, 2013

Despite claiming unity, the rebel Syrian National Coalition (SNC) seems more divided than ever, to the extent that the high profile Rome Conference, aimed at convincing Western nations to supply them with more funding and arms, may not even happen.

Well, it will happen, but most of the SNC may not be in attendance with several groups threatening to boycott the meeting, both as a function of internal divisions and tensions with the international community.

US officials are desperately trying to talk everyone into attending, warning this may be the only chance at convincing the West into short-term policy shifts toward Syria, with open talk of stepping up direct armament of the rebels.

Long-term anger at not getting armed seems to be fraying rebel patience however, with reports that they have recently spurned both US and Russian talks, citing “shameful” silence over the fighting in Aleppo.

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