Syria rebels push al Qaeda back; U.S. open to Iran role




 
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January 5th, 2014  
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Topic: Syria rebels push al Qaeda back; U.S. open to Iran role


By Khaled Yacoub Oweis and Arshad Mohammed AMMAN/JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Syrian rebel fighters loyal to al Qaeda ceded ground near the Turkish border to rival Islamists on Sunday, activists said, in what seemed to be a tactical withdrawal to end clashes between Syrian- and foreign-led opponents of President Bashar al-Assad. As Syria's civil war gets ever more complex amid a broad regional confrontation between Sunni and Shi'ite Muslims, the United States raised the prospect of Assad's sponsor Iran, the Shi'ite power long at odds with Washington and its Sunni Arab allies, playing some role in this month's Syrian peace talks. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Tehran still should not take formal part in the peace conference scheduled to start on Lake Geneva on January 22 because it had not endorsed a 2012 accord calling for a new Syrian leadership. But he said there might be ways that Iran could "contribute from the sidelines".




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