Syria’s opposition undecided on Geneva again

Syria’s opposition undecided on Geneva again
Mon Dec 9, 2013 08:01:43

A top member of the Syrian opposition says they have not concluded yet whether to take part in the long-awaited peace talks planned for next month in Geneva, and they are going to decide about it soon.

George Sabra, the president of the Syrian National Council (SNC), which is the biggest bloc within the so-called Syrian National Coalition, said on Sunday that a "final decision" would be taken during a meeting of the coalition in mid-December in Istanbul.

"I have doubts that the conference will take place," said Sabra, adding, "No one will dare go to Geneva without consulting with the forces on the ground who retain the real power.”

The opposition coalition has said in the past that it will attend the Geneva 2 conference only if there is a clear timeframe for President Bashar al-Assad to step down.

However, the SNC has maintained that it will not attend the talks in Geneva and that it might quit the coalition if it participates in the conference.

Opposition's main armed group on the ground, the so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA) has rejected to take part in the talks.

Dozens of militant groups, many of them affiliated to al-Qaeda and other extremist groups have also rejected the talks, calling anyone attending it a traitor.

Russia and the US have been pushing to bring the Syrian government and the opposition to the negotiating table.

The Geneva 2 conference is seen as a chance to find a political solution to the Syrian crisis. The UN has set January 22, 2014, as the date for the talks.

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

The unrest, which took in terrorist groups from across Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, has transpired as one of the bloodiest conflicts in recent history.

According to the United Nations, more than 100,000 people have been killed and millions displaced due to the turmoil that has gripped Syria for over two years.


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