1613 GMT: Opposition Talks May Be Falling Apart. Over the weekend, opposition leader Moaz al-Khatib, head of the Syrian National Coalition, held talks with the US, the UN, and Russia, where he offered to negotiate with the Assad regime on the condition that Assad is not part of any transitional government. Al Khatib's goal in the talks was to find a solution that would "help the regime leave peacefully." Now, he says, the ball is in Assad's court:
"The regime must take a clear stand [on dialogue] and we say we will extend our hand for the interest of people and to help the regime leave peacefully," he said. "It is now in the hands of the regime."
Al-Khatib said that his initiative was "humanitarian" in order to save Syrian lives and what remains of the country's infrastructure after nearly two years of conflict.
"The big powers have no vision [for a solution] ... Only the Syrian people can decide on the solution."
Khatib faces three major challenges, all of which could unravel the efforts to end the crisis. The first, and arguably most important, is that the Assad regime has not responded to the call to negotiate, and has failed to abide by any other deals it has made in the past. All previous statements have suggested that President Bashar al Assad will not leave his government, the regime will not stop its military campaign against "terrorists," a label for all the rebels (and peaceful protesters) who have resisted Assad rule, and the opposition has no legitimacy.