Syria opposition meeting in Riyadh sees no role for Assad in transition

Syria opposition meeting in Riyadh sees no role for Assad in transitionBy Stephen Kalin and Suleiman Al-Khalidi RIYADH/AMMAN (Reuters) – Syria’s main opposition stuck by its demand on Thursday that President Bashar al-Assad play no role in an interim period under any U.N.-sponsored peace deal, despite speculation it could soften its stance because of Assad’s battlefield strength. A gathering in Saudi Arabia of more than 140 participants from a broad spectrum of Syria’s mainstream opposition also blasted Iran’s military presence in Syria and called on Shi’ite militias backed by Tehran to leave the country. “The participants stressed that this (the transition) cannot happen without the departure of Bashar al Assad and his clique at the start of the interim period,” opposition groups said in a communique at the end of the meeting.



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