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The Syrian opposition coalition favored by the U.S. and its allies is in no position to fill a political vacuum that could be created if an anticipated U.S.-led military strike hastens the downfall of President Bashar Assad.
United Nations diplomats said Tuesday that the Syrian National Coalition is set to open offices in Washington, D.C., and New York City, as it prepares for meetings of Syrian opposition leaders with U.S. and U.N. officials.
Fighting between rebels and Syrian forces intensified and spread across the capital of Damascus on Tuesday as diplomats scrambled to shore up a tough international response to the "civil war" ahead of a U.N. deadline for withdrawing observers.
U.N. observers suspended their patrols in Syria on Saturday due to a recent spike in violence, the strongest sign yet that an international peace plan was unraveling despite months of diplomatic efforts to prevent the country from plunging into civil war.
A Sudanese general linked to genocide in Darfur is leading an Arab League team to Syria to monitor the regime's compliance with a promise to end its violent crackdown on anti-government protesters.