Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Syria's Divisions a Split Opposition Prevents a Negotiated Settlement

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Syria's Divisions a Split Opposition Prevents a Negotiated Settlement

Article excerpt

Syria -- with a civil war nearing 20 months, 40,000 dead, thousands fleeing the country and President Bashar Assad fighting on -- has one problem that could see some improvement.

That is the division that has prevailed since the start of the conflict among the opposition to the Assad regime. There are the fighters in the country and the exiles living cushioned lives abroad. Within both groups there are many divisions. The sub-groups range from Islamist extremists who want to turn Syria into a sharia- law, Islamic caliphate to advocates of democracy such as those who prevailed in Egypt and Tunisia. The latter Syrian groups, who might seem more reasonable if they were not so fractious, are more acceptable to the West but have never had any chance of putting a dent in the Assad regime.

The imbroglio is made more complex by the fact that a large number of countries have a dog in the fight. These include France, Iran, Israel, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States. …

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