Syrian opposition rebuffs Geneva talks again

Syrian opposition rebuffs Geneva talks again
Mon Oct 14, 2013 08:44:48

A key group in the divided Syrian opposition has rejected to attend the proposed peace talks in Geneva aimed at ending the bloody war in Syria and has threatened to quit the so-called Syrian National Coalition (SNC) if it participated.

“The Syrian National Council, which is the biggest bloc in the Coalition, has taken the firm decision ... not to go to Geneva, under the present circumstances [on the ground],” George Sabra, president of the Syrian National Council told AFP on Sunday.

“This means that we will not stay in the Coalition if it goes” to the peace talks, he added.

Russia and some Western countries have been trying to bring the two sides of the Syria conflict to the negotiating table to find a solution to the 30-month-old conflict, which has killed more than 115,000 people.

Syrian government has announced its readiness for the talks without any pre-conditions while the western-backed opposition which his suffering from deep internal conflicts has been refusing to attend, citing different excuses.

Sabra once again tried to blame the Syrian army for the chemical attack near Damascus on August 21 and said he is not satisfied with the international response to the attack.

He also said, “The regional and international context does not give the impression that Geneva II will offer anything to the Syrians”.

“We will not participate in a conference that is intended to hide the failure of international politics.”

The SNC, having two al-Qaeda-linked militant groups on its side to fight the Syrian army, has lost many of its followers due to the presence of al-Qaeda while it has also seen some of its armed groups join the al-Qaeda.

Sabra’s statement came as hundreds of civilians, some carried on stretchers, fled a besieged, rebel-held Damascus suburb following a temporary cease-fire in the area, activists and officials said.

The evacuation from Moadamieh, where local activists say at least six people have died of starvation, began Saturday and was still underway in Sunday.

The humanitarian situation for the thousands trapped in Moadamieh has been deteriorating for months.

Same situation applies to several other towns and villages, especially in the vast nosthern province of Aleppo, where people are trapped under strict sieges imposed by militants, who keep them in the area as human shields to deter Syrian army improvements.

Syrian activists of the Moadamieh Media Center reported six people died of starvation in September: two women and four children. One woman described how her 18-month-old daughter lost half her weight as she struggled to nourish her on boiled lentil water.

A Moadamieh Media Center activist, requesting anonymity, estimated some 12,000 people likely remain.

Militants kidnapped a team of seven workers from the International Committee of the Red Cross after stopping their convoy early Sunday along a roadside in northern Syria.

Simon Schorno, a spokesman for the ICRC in Damascus, said the abduction took place near the town of Saraqeb in Idlib province around 11:30 a.m. as the team was returning to Damascus.

Six of the people kidnapped are ICRC staff workers and one is a volunteer from the Syrian Red Crescent, he said.

The war in Syria started in March 2011, when pro-reform protests turned into a massive insurgency following intervention of western and regional states.

According to reports, the Western powers and their regional allies -- especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey -- are supporting the militants operating inside Syria.


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