Syrian Opposition Group on Brink of Collapse

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BEIRUT (AP) - With just two weeks to go before an international peace conference on Syria, the country's main Western-backed opposition group is on the brink of collapse.

It's been dragged down by outside pressures, infighting and deep disagreements over the basic question of whether to talk to President Bashar Assad.

The crisis in the Syrian National Coalition raises further doubts about the conference that is set to open on January 22nd in Switzerland.

The prospects for a successful outcome at the talks appear bleak, at best. Assad has said he won't hand over power. And the opposition -- if it decides to attend -- is in no position to force any concessions from him.

The U.S. and Russia -- which support opposing sides in the conflict that has killed more than 120,000 people -- have been trying for months to bring the Syrian government and its opponents to the table for talks. But with the fighting deadlocked, neither the government nor the rebels are showing any interest in compromise.

The Coalition never became the unified rebel leadership that the United States and other outside powers had envisioned. And it's never enjoyed broad popular support inside Syria from activists and fighters.