RPT-UPDATE 1-INTERVIEW-Syrian dissident pushes to unite fragmented opposition

Sat Nov 3, 2012 9:52am GMT

(Repeats with no changes to text)

* Former Syrian prisoner works to unify Assad opponents

* Seif's initiative is centre plank of Doha meeting

* Says inclusive assembly key to international recognition

By Khaled Yacoub Oweis

AMMAN, Nov 2 (Reuters) - The fragmented Syrian opposition will attempt once again this weekend to forge a common policy to gain international respect, obtain weapons and, most importantly, topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a formerly imprisoned dissident said.

"An alternative to the regime is dearly needed," said Riad Seif, a liberal politician who is battling cancer and managed to leave Syria only a few months ago after having been imprisoned.

"We are talking about a temporary period that begins with forming a political leadership until a national assembly that represents all Syrians meets in Damascus, once Assad falls," Seif said in an interview with Reuters in Amman.

He spoke after talking to opposition figures in advance of a of a meeting of the wider opposition movement in Doha this weekend to form a united front to help end the 19-month uprising against Assad that has claimed more than 32,000 lives, left many parts of the country in ruins and threatens to widen into a regional conflict.   Continued...

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