Syrian opposition takes seat at Arab summit

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DOHA, Qatar — Syrian opposition representatives took the country’s seat for the first time at an Arab League summit that opened in Qatar today, a significant diplomatic boost for the forces fighting President Bashar Assad’s regime.

Mouaz al-Khatib, the former president of the main opposition alliance — the Western-backed Syrian National Coalition — used the forum to call for a greater U.S. role in aiding the rebels and said he had appealed to Secretary of State John Kerry to consider using NATO Patriot anti-missile batteries in Turkey to help defend northern Syria against strikes by Assad’s forces.

The Arab League in 2011 suspended the Syrian government’s membership in the organization as punishment for the regime’s crackdown on opponents.

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