UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi has arrived in Damascus to seek support for a peace conference aimed at ending the 2 1/2-year civil war in Syria.
Brahimi, who is on a regional tour to promote the conference, dubbed Geneva 2, previously visited Iran.
The Geneva conference is tentatively scheduled for next month.
On October 27, 19 Islamist groups fighting to topple President Bashar al-Assad's regime issued a statement rejecting participation in the Geneva conference and saying that negotiating with the regime would be an act of "treason" that should be punished.
Russia -- Assad's main international backer -- issued a harsh rebuke to the rebels.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the statement was "outrageous" and called the groups "extremist, terrorist organizations."
Based on reporting by AFP and dpa