Syrian army captures suburb south of Damascus

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The main Western-backed opposition group, the Syrian National Coalition, said this week it is ready to attend the proposed peace talks but only if certain conditions are met. It has demanded that the government allow humanitarian aid to reach besieged areas and release political prisoners — demands the Assad government is unlikely to meet.

The prospects for the conference are further muddied by a dispute over a potential transitional government. The opposition, which has little support inside Syria, wants any future transitional government to exclude Assad and his close allies — a demand the Syrian government has rejected.

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