Classifieds | Archives | Jobs | About TGT | Contact | Subscribe
 | 
Last updated 6 hours, 39 minutes ago
Printer Friendly Version | TGT@Twitter | RSS Feed |
HOME LOCAL MIDEAST ASIA WORLD BUSINESS SPORT OPINION WRITERS
Rebels reject Sochi peace initiative
December 27, 2017
 Print    Send to Friend

BEIRUT: More than three dozen Syrian rebel groups, including influential hardliners, have rejected a Russian-led initiative for talks next month in Sochi on ending Syria’s war.

Russia and Iran, both key allies of Syria’s regime, agreed with opposition backer Turkey on Friday to hold a “Congress of National Dialogue” in the Black Sea resort of Sochi on January 29 and 30.

Syria’s government swiftly said it would attend but rebels have pushed back, calling it a Russian bid to eclipse a United Nations-led process in Geneva.

“We completely reject Russia’s attempt to circumvent the Geneva track,” the rebels said in a joint statement published on Monday.

“We call on all forces to stand in one rank against these alarming dangers.” It was signed by 40 factions, including Ahrar al-Sham and groups that have been backed by the United States such as the Mutasem Brigades.

Some of the factions played a significant role in the rebellion since the war broke out in 2011 but most have either been sidelined by other groups or control only small pockets of land.

Mustefa Sejari, a top Mutasem Brigades figure, told AFP on Tuesday that rebels could not see Russia as an honest broker.

“From the beginning, we said whoever wants to play an intermediary and guarantor role in Syria needs to be neutral, fair, and honest in its support of political transition,” Sejari said.

“Russia has not done these things − it is a partner in the killing of the Syrian people,” he added.

Syria’s conflict erupted in 2011 with anti-government demonstrations, but it has since morphed into a complex war drawing in world powers, including Russia.

Repeated attempts to reach a political solution to the war have failed, with the UN-backed process in Switzerland bearing little fruit.

Russia, Turkey, and Iran began hosting talks between Syria’s government and armed rebels in Kazakhstan earlier this year, and announced the Sochi conference at the most recent round last week.

The United Nations has yet to firmly endorse the summit, and opposition representatives have largely been wary of it.

Syria’s Kurds, which run semi-autonomous regions across the country’s north, welcomed the Sochi initiative on Tuesday.

“We have a right to take part and represent our people in it,” said the statement, signed by Kurdish and Christian parties as well as an alliance including the powerful Democratic Union Party (PYD).

The PYD and its armed wing, the People’s Protection Units (YPG), have never been invited as a separate delegation to Syrian peace talks in Geneva or Astana.

Turkey considers the PYD a “terrorist” organisation because of its links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party and has said it would oppose any talks involving the PYD.

But even if the debate over attendees is resolved, the main stumbling block over any political solution remains the fate of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, with much of the opposition sticking firm to calls for his ouster.

Agence France-Presse

Add this page to your favorite Social Bookmarking websites
Comments
 
Post a comment
 
Name:
Country:
City:
Email:
Comment:
 
    
    
Related Stories
Award-winning Syrian novelist passes away
DAMASCUS: Award-winning Syrian novelist Hanna Mineh, known in his war-torn country as the father of the modern novel, died on Tuesday aged 94, state media said. The pr..
UN ‘hampering’ Syria reconstruction
MOSCOW: Russia’s foreign minister on Monday accused the UN of hampering the reconstruction of war-torn Syria, as the Moscow-backed Syrian regime calls on refugees to retu..
Funding shortage threatens WHO’s response in Syria
GENEVA: As the conflict in northwest Syria escalates, WHO is appealing for $11 million to provide life-saving healthcare to people in parts of Aleppo, Hama, Idlib, and La..
US raises $300m for Syria stabilisation
WASHINGTON: The United States said on Friday it had secured $300 million from coalition partners to help stabilise parts of Syria retaken from Daesh, after President Dona..
US-backed forces repel Daesh attack in eastern Syria
BEIRUT: US-backed forces have repelled a raid by the Daesh group targeting barracks housing American and French troops in eastern Syria, the Syrian Observatory for Human ..
FRONTPAGE
 
GALLERY
 
PANORAMA
 
TIME OUT
 
SPORT
 
 
Advertise | Copyright