Syria rebels say "international pressure" will prolong crisis


Opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad are facing international pressure to make concessions that would prolong the country's conflict, prominent rebel groups said on Friday, underscoring their doubts about a new drive by the United Nations for peace talks.

Rebel groups, including the powerful Islam Army, said in a statement that an opposition council set up to oversee negotiations was under pressure "to offer concessions that will prolong the suffering of our people and the spilling of their blood".

The opposition council met U.N. envoy Staffan de Mistura this week, telling him that Syrian government must take goodwill steps, including a prisoner release, before they will go to
negotiations he plans to hold in Geneva on 25 January.

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