November 22, 2017 / 2:56 PM / in 24 days

Draft opposition statement calls for Assad to leave at start of transition: Arabiya

RIYADH (Reuters) - The draft of a final statement by a Syrian opposition meeting in Riyadh calls for the departure of President Bashar al-Assad at the beginning of any transition, Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television said on Wednesday.

An array of opposition groups and figures began meeting earlier in the day in a bid to unify the group’s position ahead of U.N.-backed peace talks to end the country’s six-year civil war.

Some opposition members have hinted that the new communique could drop any mention of Assad, softening a long-standing demand that he not have a role in any transition.

Reporting by Stephen Kalin; Editing by Alison Williams

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