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Syrian Opposition Meets In Riyadh As U.S., Russia Reach 'Provisional' Deal

Syria’s main opposition umbrella group was meeting in the Saudi capital on February 22 as Washington and Russia continued diplomatic efforts aimed at brokering a cease-fire deal.

Monzer Makhous, a spokesman for the High Negotiations Committee, said on February 22 that the Riyadh meeting was expected to last for two or three days with various Syrian opposition groups discussing developments since they decided to attend peace talks in Geneva in January.

Those UN-brokered peace talks collapsed in early February as Syrian government forces pushed forward with a Russian and Iranian-backed military offensive against opposition fighters in Aleppo.

The Riyadh opposition talks, which do not include Islamic State militants, come a day after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced a “provisional agreement” with Russia for a partial truce in Syria.

Opposition leaders say they will agree to a truce if Moscow and Tehran halt their fire and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime allows humanitarian aid deliveries into besieged, opposition-held areas.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, AFP, and TASS