July 5, 2013

Syria’s fractious opposition coalition meets on Thursday under pressure to name a new leader and prove to its Western and Arab backers it can be trusted with advanced weapons to beat back a concerted offensive by President Bashar Assad.

The opposition’s inability to unite has made Western countries reluctant to send weapons, even as Assad’s forces have seized initiative in recent months and Washington and its European allies have vowed to aid his enemies.

Rebels are under siege in the strategic city of Homs and trying to hold on to swathes of territory across the country, while the opposition in exile has been unable to exert authority on the ground and halt strides toward radical Islamism.

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