Clinton discloses West's effort to help reshape Syria opposition

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WASHINGTON — The Obama administration and allies have begun a new effort to reshape the Syrian opposition to give a bigger role to front-line fighters, a smaller one to Syrian exiles, and to exclude entirely the Islamist radicals who have flocked to the war against the government of President Bashar Assad, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Wednesday.

Clinton said the U.S. and allies hope to take a major step in forming a future leadership of Syria at an Arab League-sponsored meeting in Qatar next week that will include a range of Syrian representatives, as well as American, European and Arab officials.

The formation of an integrated opposition leadership has been a top goal of U.S. officials, but a frustrating one because of the deep distrust between the opposition fighters in Syria, the exiles, and minority Alawites and Christians who American officials hope to persuade to support a new government.

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