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Top envoys press Syrian opposition to join peace talks

A rebel threw a fire ball in the city of Deir Ezzor on Friday. Clashes pitting rebels against rebels have killed hundreds.
A rebel threw a fire ball in the city of Deir Ezzor on Friday. Clashes pitting rebels against rebels have killed hundreds.Credit: Ahmad Aboud/AFP/Getty Images

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PARIS — Syria’s Western-backed opposition came under steely pressure Sunday to attend peace talks in just over a week as envoys from 11 countries converged to help restore, and test, credibility of a rebel coalition sapped by vicious infighting and indecision.

But diplomacy’s limits were starkly apparent in Syria itself, where activists said rebel-on-rebel clashes have killed nearly 700 people in the deadliest bout of infighting since the civil war began.

The bloodshed, pitting Al Qaeda-linked militants against several Islamist and more moderate rebel brigades, has begun to overshadow the broader war against the government.

Sunday’s meetings in Paris came just over a week before the scheduled talks in Switzerland, as the Syrian National Coalition nears collapse, its influence eroded by chronic infighting.

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