(DAMASCUS, Syria) — Syria’s main exile opposition group is angry that the international community has not spoken up about government Scud missile strikes on civilians in the northern city of Aleppo.
The U.S. State Department did issue a statement on Saturday, condemning “the Syrian regime’s ruthlessness and its lack of compassion for the Syrian people it claims to represent.”
Still, it wasn’t enough to convince the National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces to change its mind about refusing to attend an international summit in March of the so-called Friends of Syria alliance, which the U.S. is a part of.
The alliance is hoping that the talks will jump start peace negotiations between the opposition and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government as the conflict enters its third year. At least 70,000 people have been killed since March 2011 although the death toll could actually be much higher.
However, without the participation of the National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, there is little chance of a diplomatic solution to the crisis.
It’s believed the exile leadership is taking this hard-line position to win favor with rebel commanders, who’ve been openly contemptuous of the group for making bold statements from comfortable surroundings outside Syria.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Susan Scutti, CNN
Andreas Preuss, CNN
Lorenzo Ferrigno, CNN