Syrian opposition groups reach unity deal
After the agreement was signed, the foreign ministers of Turkey and Qatar, Ahmet Davutoglu and Hamad bin Jassim, joined the conference. Davutoglu said claims of divisions among the opposition ‘‘are over now.’’
Tunisian Foreign Minister Rafik Abdessalem said the new coalition ‘‘is a major achievement on the road to a new Syria.’’
U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner released a statement saying that America congratulates the opposition and looks ‘‘forward to supporting the National Coalition as it charts a course toward the end of Assad’s bloody rule and the start of the peaceful, just, democratic future that all the people of Syria deserve.’’
All opposition groups and figures taking part in the Doha meeting rejected any dialogue with Assad’s regime.
The Syrian government has dismissed the meetings in Doha. Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi called them political folly. In an interview on state-run Syrian TV aired late Friday, al-Zoubi said those who ‘‘meet in hotels’’ abroad are ‘‘deluding themselves’’ if they think they can overthrow the government.
The uprising against Assad began in March 2011 with peaceful protests. A regime crackdown prompted fierce fighting, propelling the conflict into a civil war that has taken on sectarian overtones.
In all, activists say more than 36,000 people have been killed.