Syrian Opposition to Attend Monday’s Geneva Peace Talks

Photo: Anadolu Agency
Photo: Anadolu Agency

Ankara,  3 Jumadil Akhir 1437/12 March 2016 (MINA) – Syrian opposition group the High Negotiations Committee on Friday announced it would attend peace talks to be held under UN supervision next Monday, March 14.

According to a written statement from the committee, the opposition group will attend the talks “without preconditions”.

“The international community should be clear and resolved on ending the tragedy in Syria. The Syrian people are still being exposed to bombardment, sieges, arbitrary arrests, and forced migration,” the statement read, Anadolu Agency quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) as reporting.

The group said that during the talks the principles agreed to in the Geneva 1 talks nearly four years ago would be stressed, adding that the partial and temporary cessation of hostilities is not fully being implemented.

The Geneva 1 Conference on Syria, held in June 2012, stressed the formation of a transitional government, maintaining a cease-fire, the release of prisoners, and delivering humanitarian aid to besieged areas.

Riad Hijab, who heads the committee, said in the statement that the group was not testing the regime’s intentions but instead just wants to represent Syrians’ justified cause in international circles.

“We want to use all opportunities to alleviate our people’s tragedy. In this sense, we believe that the political, military, and humanitarian aspects of the Syrian revolution should be separated from each other, and the pain of the people should not be traded for political desires,” Hijab said.

Stressing the slim chances of any agreement being reached with the Bashar al-Assad regime, Hijab said the regime has been violating the people’s basic rights and continuing to carry out murders.

“It [the regime] wants to highlight Daesh’s agenda by axing the political process and excluding opposition forces from diplomatic process,” Hijab said.

A cessation-of-hostilities agreement entered into force on February 27, paving the way for talks to resume.

Since the truce went into effect, the Assad regime – which along with Russia backing, is also supported by Lebanon’s Hezbollah group – has continued to carry out attacks, both from the air and on the ground.

Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011 when the al-Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.

Since then, more than 250,000 people have been killed and more than 10 million displaced, according to the UN. (T/P010/R07)

Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)