Syrian opposition leader quits ahead of new round of talks

A senior Syrian opposition leader has quit his post a week before a new round of U.N.-sponsored peace talks in Geneva.

Riyad Hijab says in a statement Monday that he is stepping down as head of the Syrian opposition's High Negotiations Committee after two years in the post.

Hijab, a former prime minister under President Bashar Assad, did not give a reason for his decision but referred in the statement to attempts by foreign powers to carve up Syria into zones of influence "through side deals made without consulting the Syrian people," a reference to Russian-led cease-fire talks.

Hijab's resignation comes as preparations are underway to host a two-day Syrian opposition conference in Saudi Arabia starting Wednesday, ahead of the Geneva talks scheduled for Nov. 28.