DOHA, Qatar — Syrian activists say anti-government groups have reached a preliminary deal to form a new opposition leadership under pressure from the international community.
Ali Sadr el-Din Bayanouni, a former Syrian Muslim Brotherhood leader, says a broad agreement has been struck among the opposition factions to form a new group called the Syrian National Coalition for Opposition and Revolutionary Forces.
He says the new group's president will be elected later Sunday. The new leadership will include representatives from the largest current opposition group, the Syrian National Council.
The Syrian opposition has been deeply divided for months despite repeated calls for them to unite.
Forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad bombarded the Ras al-Ain area on the border with Turkey on Sunday, days after the town fell to rebels during an advance that has sent thousands of refugees fleeing for safety.
Helicopters circled above the town and opposition activists said they had strafed targets near the village of Tal Halaf, near Ceylanpinar.
The Arab and Kurdish town of Ras al-Ain fell to the Free Syrian Army on Thursday in fighting that sent 9,000 fleeing in a 24-hour period, one of a largest refugee influxes into Turkey of the 19-month civil war.
Tank rounds slammed into the western part of the town on Sunday and a Reuters reporter on the Turkish side of the border saw black smoke rising over the area.
Rebels and forces loyal to Assad exchanged artillery fire and some rounds appeared to land just inside Turkey.
The United States has become increasingly frustrated with the opposition's inability to form a common front and present a single conduit for foreign support.
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