Syrian opposition groups meeting in Qatar have inked a hard-won unity deal and agreed to form a national coalition to fight against President Bashar al-Assad, delegates said.
"We signed a 12-point agreement to establish a coalition," said leading dissident Riad Seif, who drew up the US-backed reform proposals on which Sunday's agreement was based.
Participants in marathon talks in Qatar said discussions were continuing on details of a planned new government-in-waiting, but that the Syrian National Council had now heeded Arab and Western calls to join a new, wider coalition.
Reservations in SNC ranks about what many members saw as a move to sideline it had prompted repeated delays in the Doha talks and mounting frustration among other dissident groups and the opposition's Arab and Western supporters.
Former prime minister Riad Hijab, who fled to neighbouring Jordan in August in the highest-ranking defection from President Assad's government, hailed the agreement as "an advanced step towards toppling the regime".