Today, Tuesday, the Syrian peace talks are supposed to intensify in Saudi Arabia. Efforts to persuade Syrian rebel groups to unite ahead of a tight deadline for convening talks withÂ Bashar al-AssadÂ and maintaining the momentum of international diplomacy to end the war will be made.
The conference in Riyadh is an attempt to bring together disparate organisations whose divisions have been a serious barrier to finding a peaceful solution to the conflict, which has lasted four and a half years.
The talks are expected to produce a document setting out a shared vision for the future of the country and to form a 25-member committee to represent the fragmented opposition camp.
The Saudis, who are working openly to overthrow Assad, have invited what they term all â€œmoderateâ€ opposition elements. That excludes the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Qaidaâ€™s Syrian affiliate, which are proscribed by the UN as terrorist organisations. But it includes other Islamist groups that western countries find too militant.
Jaysh al-Islam, which has strong Saudi links, has not confirmed whether it will attend. Neither has Ahrar al-Sham, another important and militarily effective group, which is supported primarily byÂ TurkeyÂ and has been trying to improve its image to attract western backing.
The Riyadh conference is expected to bring together up to 150 representatives of political and armed groups. These include the Syrian National Coalition (SNC) and the Damascus-based National Coordination Committee â€“ which is tolerated by Assad, writes The Guardian.Â
Representatives of the Free Syrian Army, which western countries want to fight Isis on the ground to complement their airstrikes, will also be there. But key Kurdish groups have not been invited because of Turkish objections.