The divided Syrian opposition meets Friday to decide whether to join landmark talks next week aimed at ending almost three years of brutal conflict, facing intense pressure from Western and Arab allies to attend.
On the eve of the opposition coalition's meeting in Istanbul, U.S Secretary of State "John Kerry" made a powerful plea to the exiled group to decide in favour of the long-delayed talks opening in Switzerland on January 22.
But Friday's opposition meeting in Istanbul -- which comes more than a week after the coalition failed to agree a united stance -- are expected to be fraught.
A Western diplomat said that "the debate will be long and difficult because the coalition leadership is caught between a rock and a hard place" , adding "it is likely in the end that the coalition will send a delegation to Geneva but at what cost to its future".
A key bloc, the opposition council, has already threatened to pull out of the coalition if it votes in favour of attending Geneva-2.
Complicating the situation are the continuing fierce battles between mainstream opposition militants in Syria and Al-Qaeda linked jihadists that monitors say have killed over 1,000 people in two weeks.
Meanwhile, the National Coordination Body for Democratic Change said Wednesday it will boycott Geneva-2 to protest at calls for it to form a single delegation with the coalition.