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Syrian oppositon groups formally unify, overcoming key hurdle

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Reuters

(Read caption) Paris-based Syrian academic Burhan Ghalioun, accompanied by a leading opposition figure Ahmed Ramadan (R), gives his address during a meeting in Istanbul October 2. Syria's main opposition groups agreed on Sunday to join a newly formed National Council, giving a major boost to President Bashar al-Assad's opponents.

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• A daily summary of global reports on security issues.

Syrian opposition leaders meeting Sunday in Turkey formally created the Syrian National Council, bringing together most of the disparate groups seeking to unseat Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The unification of Syria's largely leaderless opposition movement is almost certain to improve coordination with the international community, whose backing could add crucial momentum to the seven-month uprising. Until now, Western leaders have been unable or unwilling to provide the kind of support that could help the opposition overthrow Mr. Assad, the Washington Post reports.

Western diplomats have frequently identified the lack of a unified opposition movement as one of the Syrian uprising’s biggest obstacles. Without a coherent opposition or any clear sense of who or what would replace Assad, world powers and many ordinary Syrians have been reluctant to throw their weight behind efforts to unseat him, fearful of a power vacuum in the strategically located nation.

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