Louay Hussein, a leading Syrian intellectual and president and co-founder of the Syrian opposition movement Building the Syrian State (BSS) speaks during an interview in Damascus on March 3, 2015. AFP PHOTO / LOUAI BESHARA
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A group of Syrian opposition figures is seeking to form an alternative to the National Coalition body and open negotiations with President Bashar Assad to end their country's conflict.Unlike the National Coalition, they appear flexible on Assad's role and the nature of any transition to end the war.Other key players are expected to be Ahmad Jarba, a former head of the Coalition with close ties to Saudi Arabia, and Jihad Makdissi, a former Foreign Ministry spokesman who left Syria in late 2012 .Despite the organizers' hopes, analysts say it will be difficult for any new grouping to replace the Coalition.Key Western backers of the National Coalition, like the United States and France, could also be unwilling to see the body supplanted by any new grouping.Members of the Coalition also questioned the effort, and particularly ambiguity about whether the grouping was willing to countenance Assad staying on.
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