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Last Updated: Friday, 17 March 2006, 18:18 GMT
Syrian opposition leaders unite
Abdul Halim Khaddam
Abdul Halim Khaddam is becoming the Syrian oppositions figurehead
A group of exiled Syrian opposition leaders has announced they are to form a common front to oppose President Bashar al-Assad's government.

Speaking after a meeting in Brussels, former Syrian Vice-President Abdul Halim Khaddam said all factions agreed that the regime Damascus had to go.

He said the goal of the new grouping was to set up a transitional government in Syria.

Mr Khaddam broke with President Assad last year, after serving his father.

The opposition grouping includes the Muslim Brotherhood, Kurds, liberals and communists.

The aim of the grouping, a delegate said following the two-day meeting in Brussels, was to be ready "to fill the void" if there were to be a collapse of the Assad government.

Damascus has been under heavy Western pressure since a UN investigation implicated Syrian and Lebanese intelligence officials in 2005's assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri.

Syria has denied the charges but was forced to pull its forces out of Lebanon in the wake of the death.





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