Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Syria: to negotiate or not?

On  Inside Syria, 5 Oct (youtube), Colonel Abdel-Hamid Zakaria, spokesman for the FSA said: "what happened is that certain units declared they are opposing the Syrian Coalition [under] the misconception that the coalition will head to Geneva to conference without clear conditions - namely the departure of al-Assad." This presumably refers to the news of 29 Sep - see Jaish al-Islam.

Sure enough, on 14 Oct the BBC reported (Syrian National Council rejects Geneva peace talks):
The largest group in Syria's opposition coalition says it will not take part in proposed peace negotiations in Geneva. Syrian National Council leader George Sabra said the group would pull out of the umbrella coalition if it took part in the talks. He said his faction would not negotiate with the Syrian government, adding that conditions for talks were not right while Syrians continued to suffer. ...  Mr Sabra told French news agency AFP that the Syrian National Council (SNC) "had taken the firm decision... not to go to Geneva under the present circumstances (on the ground)". "Ghouta (agricultural belt around Damascus) is under siege and it is forbidden to even bring in bread. Are these the conditions that will allow us to achieve [..] a democratic transition in Syria?" he asked. Mr Sabra was also fiercely critical of the international community, accusing it of failing to punish the Syrian government after the 21 August poison gas attack ... near Damascus. ... "The international community has focused on the murder weapon, which is the chemical weapons, and left the murderer unpunished and forgotten the victims," he added.
Posted 24 Oct 2013

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