A major Syrian opposition group called for international protection for civilians and Arab and international observers to be allowed into Syria. The request, issued before the arrival on Wednesday of a delegation led by the prime minister of Qatar, comes before the delegation will engage in talks to determine the possibility of starting a national dialogue. The Syrian National Council has said there can be be no dialogue while the military continues its crackdown on protesters. “I think our position on this hasn’t changed,” a State Department spokesperson said when asked about potential military action to protect Syrian civilians. “The vast majority of the Syrian opposition continues to speak in favor of peaceful, nonviolent protests and against foreign intervention of any kind, and particularly foreign military intervention into the situation in Syria, and we respect that,” she said.