Syria opposition will reportedly attend Rome meeting, reversing boycott


Rebel fighters take part in a demonstration against the Syrian regime after the Friday prayer in the al-Fardos neighbourhood of Aleppo on December 7, 2012. Syrian opposition groups had agreed in Doha last month to sink their differences and form a single body in the hope of getting direct aid, including crucial anti-aircraft weapons, to combat President Assad.


Odd Andersen

Members of Syria's opposition will reportedly attend a meeting on the conflict in Rome this Thursday, reversing their decision to the boycott the international conference,  according to the Los Angeles Times.

The decision averts a potential embarrassment for US Secretary of State John Kerry as he embarks on his first diplomatic trip abroad in his new post.

More from GlobalPost: John Kerry, US Secretary of State, embarks on first foreign trip

Agence France Presse said Kerry and British Foreign Secretary William Hague's appeal at a joint press conference in London helped convince the opposition to change their mind.

AFP reported Syrian National Coalition chief Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib posted on Facebook that his group would attend the meeting after their appeal "promised specific aid to alleviate the suffering of our people."

On Monday, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem, who is in Moscow, signaled that the government was ready to talk with the opposition rebels, as GlobalPost reported.

However, the opposition rejected that offer to sit down with Damascus, according to the LA Times.

The news comes as Kerry arrived in London on the first leg of a nine-nation diplomatic tour that will take him to Paris, Rome, Ankara, Cairo, Riyadh, Abu Dhabi and Doha.

More from GlobalPost: Syria regime says it's ready for talks with rebels