Syria opens ‘national dialogue’ with opposition

The Syrian government is holding a two-day meeting with members of the ruling Baath party and its opponents, the BBC said. The government says the Damascus meeting will begin discussion of possible reforms, including multi-party elections and a new media law. But many opposition leaders and protest organisers have refused to attend. Rights groups estimate that more than 1,750 people, including 350 security personnel, have been killed as the government tries to quell the protests.The meeting came amid allegations from Human Rights Watch that Syrian security forces were commanded to shoot unarmed protesters. The group said they interviewed eight soldiers and four members of the security agencies in Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan who defected over the last four months.

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