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SYRIA – Nineteen Syrian Islamist rebel groups have spurned participation in peace talks and rattled a saber toward those who decide to engage with Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

“We consider participation in Geneva II and negotiating with the regime is trading the blood of martyrs and treason and those will be held accountable in our courts,” the coalition said in a video statement Sunday.

They said they’ll reject outright any resolution that does not call for ousting the al-Assad government and holding its members accountable for war crimes.

According to the United Nations, well over 100,000 people have died in the Syrian conflict. It began in March 2011 when government forces cracked down on peaceful protesters and morphed into a full-blown civil war.

Rebel groups that emerged during the course of the conflict have ranged across the ideological spectrum from hard-liners, like many Islamist groups, to pro-Western groups. The 19 rebel groups represent only a portion of the grass-roots movement against the al-Assad regime.

A proposed conference in Geneva, Switzerland, between Syrian government officials and opposition leaders, intended to broker an end to the country’s civil war, has been delayed several times but is tentatively scheduled for the end of November.

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