Sunday, January 21, 2018

Syria's rebels open talks on forging united political front

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Syria's fractious opposition groups began negotiations in Qatar on Sunday to forge a more unified front in a bloody conflict that claims more than 100 lives a day.

Any attempt to restructure the opposition is unlikely to succeed — the last such meeting in Cairo in June ended in shouting and fistfights — but senior opposition figures tried to smooth over any differences in their initial remarks.

"The main aim is to expand the council to include more of the social and political components," said Abdulbaset Sieda, the current leader of the Syrian National Council.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said last week that the Syrian National Council had outlived its usefulness and should be replaced by a larger umbrella organization with more representation from inside Syria as well as from minority groups.

The council could be incorporated into that larger body, she said, but could no longer play a starring role in the exiled opposition.

Western powers hope to create a viable alternative to the government of President Bashar Assad.

While political bickering gathered steam, the fighting inside Syria continued apace.

A car bomb exploded in Damascus, wounding 11 people and causing serious damage to the headquarters building of the General Federation of Trade Unions, reported SANA, the country's official news agency.

The government blamed "terrorists" for the attack.

In clashes around Syria, three days of heavy fighting ended with rebel forces capturing the Al Ward oil field in the eastern province of Deir ez-Zour, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which tracks the conflict from abroad.

Comments
The Latest: SAG Awards running long, call for short speeches

The Latest: SAG Awards running long, call for short speeches

The Latest: SAG Awards running long, call for short speeches by winners
Updated: 10 minutes ago
The Latest: Government shutdown will continue into Monday

The Latest: Government shutdown will continue into Monday

Government shutdown will continue into Monday, as Senate leaders continue negotiations over immigration and spending.
Updated: 11 minutes ago

AP Top News at 9:39 p.m. EST

AP Top News at 9:39 p.m. EST
Updated: 11 minutes ago
Expansion Golden Knights pass Lightning for top spot in NHL

Expansion Golden Knights pass Lightning for top spot in NHL

RALEIGH, N.C. — James Neal and Jonathan Marchessault scored to help the Golden Knights beat the Hurricanes 5-1 on Sunday night and pass the Lightning for the best record in the NHL.The expansion Golden Knights are 31-11-4, good for 66 points. That’s ...
Updated: 11 minutes ago
Healthy Keys back in Aussie quarters

Healthy Keys back in Aussie quarters

MELBOURNE, Australia — Madison Keys continued her strong run through the Australian Open draw, returning to the quarterfinals here for the first time in three years with Sunday’s 6-3, 6-2 win over Caroline Garcia.The U.S. Open finalist is yet to drop...
Updated: 11 minutes ago
Super Bowl LII preview: First look at New England Patriots vs. Philadelphia Eagles

Super Bowl LII preview: First look at New England Patriots vs. Philadelphia Eagles

Remember when the Bills were 3-1 and in first place in the AFC East? And when the Patriots were 2-2 and allowing 32 points per game? Weird, right?The Bills part, yes. The Patriots part, no.New England had done that before. Four other times in the Bil...
Updated: 12 minutes ago
Magic hangs on for rare victory at Boston

Magic hangs on for rare victory at Boston

BOSTON — After a near miss in its last game, the Magic was rewarded for another solid effort.Elfrid Payton had 22 points and Orlando won for just the third time in its past 20 games, overcoming Kyrie Irving’s 40 points to beat the Celtics 103-95 on S...
Updated: 16 minutes ago
Rockwell, Janney, Kidman among SAG Awards winners

Rockwell, Janney, Kidman among SAG Awards winners

The Screen Actors Guild will honor the best performances in film and television from last year, but not without also spotlighting efforts to improve treatment of women in the industry
Updated: 23 minutes ago
Jones: Saluting CBS, honesty and goats (not to be confused with GOATS)

Jones: Saluting CBS, honesty and goats (not to be confused with GOATS)

Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.Best coverageThe best football broadcast I’ve ever seen was Super Bowl XLIII. That was NBC’s coverage of the Steelers’ last-minute victory over th...
Updated: 25 minutes ago

Hillsborough diver who died in Eagle’s Nest Cave was adventurous but experienced

Davin Brannon was a pilot, a spearfisherman, an avid cave and open-water diver and an experienced all-around adventurer, said those close to him ."I guess you could say he died doing what he loved," his cousin Pam Kirven said. "But I also know he’d n...
Updated: 30 minutes ago