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Syrian Coalition Votes To Attend Geneva Peace Talks

The Western-backed umbrella group of Syrian rebels has voted to attend peace talks with the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad in the Swiss city of Montreux.

The National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces made the announcement on Twitter on Saturday after a vote held in Istanbul, Turkey.

Hassan Hassan, of the United Arab Emirate's The National, reports that of the 75 members of the national coalition, 58 voted in favor and two abstained from attending what's come to be known as Geneva II.

The peace talks were brokered by the West and its Arab partners, but have been fraught by delays. At different points, both the Assad regime and opposition groups have said they would not attend.

Now, both the Assad regime and this important faction of the opposition have agreed to join the talks.

Ahmad Jarba, the president of the Syrian Coalition, tweeted that this was "a major step from tyranny to freedom for the people of Syria."

The talks are scheduled to begin on Wednesday.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.