Smoke rises from buildings after what activists said was shelling from forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the besieged area of Homs January 15, 2014. REUTERS/Thaer Al Khalidiya
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Syria's centrist internal opposition group, which rejects the armed insurgency against President Bashar al-Assad, said on Thursday that it will not attend peace talks in Switzerland next week, in a setback for the negotiations.Khaled Dahowd, an executive member of the National Coordination Body (NCB), accused Russia and the United States of rushing the conference to promote their own interests in the region, rather than those of the Syrian people.The NCB said it was reaching out to other Syrian opposition groups, including some armed forces, to launch its own talks.At least two leading members of the NCB are currently imprisoned by Assad's forces, like many of the president's opponents in Syria. Dahowd said Russia should have required Assad to release such figures, as well as females and minors, before talks could begin.
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