Opposition unites as Israel fires Syria warning shots

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The Syrian opposition agreed on Sunday to unite against Bashar al-Assad’s regime as Israel fired warning shots into the war-torn country in response to mortar fire that hit the Golan Heights. After four days of marathon talks in Qatar, the Syrian National Council finally signed up to a wider, more representative bloc centred on a government-in-waiting, as demanded by Arab and Western states.
The Israeli warning shot across the UN-monitored ceasefire line between Syria and the occupied Golan Heights came after a mortar round fired from the Syrian side hit an Israeli position. It came after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his cabinet Israel was “ready for any development.” Reservations in SNC ranks about what many members saw as a move to sideline it had prompted repeated delays in the Doha talks and mounting frustration among other dissident groups and the opposition’s Arab and Western supporters. But after negotiations ran into the early hours of Sunday and resumed in the afternoon, the anti-Assad factions agreed to form a “National Coalition of Forces of the Syrian Revolution and Opposition.” “We signed a 12-point agreement to establish a coalition,” said leading dissident Riad Seif, who drew up the US-backed reform proposals on which Sunday’s agreement was based.