US negotiating with Islamists in Syria

The Obama administration has launched direct talks with Islamist militias in Syria that aren't aligned with al Qaeda, The Wall Street Journal reports

The change in tactics is a tacit acknowledgment that the western-backed alliance of more secular groups has crumbled amid fierce fighting with Bashar Assad's forces. Islamist militias hoping to establish Islamist law in Syria have filled the void, leaving the administration with no good options.

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The White House hopes to sideline al Qaeda-linked groups with more global ambitions, the Journal reports. The administration is also courting the less radical militias to gauge their willingness to participate in peace talks scheduled for January, as a counterweight to the Syrian regime.

The outreach aims to “find out whether these people are worthwhile bringing into the diplomatic process,” a senior U.S. official told the Journal.

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