Syria opposition to join peace talks to oust Assad
ISTANBUL (AFP) - Syria's deeply divided opposition finally agreed on Saturday, Jan 18, 2014, to join an international peace conference, with the sole aim of removing President Bashar al-Assad from power, a day after Damascus offered concessions.
Exiled umbrella group the National Coalition voted at a meeting in Istanbul in favour of attending next week's talks, even as government warplanes pounded the northern Syrian city of Aleppo and surrounding areas, killing 16 people.
The so-called Geneva II conference opening on Wednesday is aimed at setting up a transitional government to find a way out of the brutal conflict that has killed 130,000 people and made millions homeless since March 2011.
Damascus had already said it will attend, although US Secretary of State John Kerry has accused the regime of diversionary tactics, saying "nobody is going to be fooled".