Syria opposition welcomes support for Assad ouster

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BEIRUT (AP) — A spokesman says Syria's main opposition bloc welcomes renewed calls by its foreign supporters that Syrian President Bashar Assad give up power at the start of any political transition aimed at ending the country's civil war.

The Syrian National Coalition is meeting for three days in Istanbul, starting Thursday, to lay out conditions for possible talks with regime representatives.

The international community hopes such talks will begin in Geneva next month.

On Wednesday, the opposition's main foreign supporters said in Jordan that Assad must relinquish power at the start of a transition period. Syria ally Russia has not committed to Assad's departure.

Opposition spokesman Louay Safi said Thursday the Amman statement is positive, but says the opposition will only attend Geneva talks if invitations say Assad's departure is one goal.

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