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Split Weakens U.S.-Backed Syrian Rebels as Islamists Gain

U.S. and Russian efforts to set the stage for Syrian peace talks suffered a blow as the Western-backed Syrian National Coalition was repudiated by more than a dozen rebel factions.

The break by the rebel groups shows the growing power of militant Islamic fighters and hampers the U.S. effort to position moderate Syrian opposition leaders to lead a transition from the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. It also muddies the effort to arm and train moderate rebel groups while keeping advanced weapons out of the hands of extremists.