National Post

ASSAD REFUSES TALKS INVOLVING ARMED GROUPS

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Syrian President Bashar Assad said his government will not negotiate with armed groups, calling them “terrorists.”

Assad’s comments were published Friday by Syria’s state media, a day after a conference in Saudi Arabia that sought to form a unified opposition front ahead of proposed talks on ending Syria’s nearly five- year conflict. Saudi Arabia has been a key backer of Sunni opposition blocs pushing for Assad’s ouster, such as the hard-line Jaysh al-Islam and Ahrar al-Sham groups.

Assad told Spanish news agency EFE that Saudi Arabia, the U. S. and some Western countries “want terrorist groups to join the negotiatio­ns table.”

He said they want his government to “negotiate with terrorists and this is a matter that I believe no one will accept.”

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