Friday 21 October 2016

Syrian opposition to quit peace talks unless al-Assad halts air-strikes against civilian areas

Suleiman Al-Khalidi

Published 31/01/2016 | 15:10

Riad Hijab, who heads the Syrian opposition council Credit: Faisal Al Nasser
Riad Hijab, who heads the Syrian opposition council Credit: Faisal Al Nasser

Syrian peace in Geneva are on the verge of collapse as delegates for the Syrian opposition threaten to walk out unless President Bashar al-Assad's forces and allies cease their bombing campaigns over rebel-held areas.

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The delegation is seeking a halt to attacks on civilian areas, the release of detainees and a lifting of blockades.

The measures were mentioned in a Security Council resolution approved last month that endorsed the peace process for Syria.

But Riad Hijab, the leading figure in the High Negotiations Committee (HNC) that brings together representatives of the mainstream political opposition and rebel groups, said in an online statement that without UN and international pressure on the Syrian government there would be no justification for the main Saudi-backed opposition group to remain in Geneva.

"In view of the regime and its allies' insistence in violating the rights of the Syrian people, then the presence of the HNC delegation in Geneva would not have justification and the HNC could pull its negotiating team," Mr Hijab said.

Mr Hijab was not among the group that arrived in Geneva and his comments came after a meeting with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in Riyadh, where Mr Hijab was quoted as expressing his concern about the intensifying aerial bombing on Syrian cities and refugee camps.

He said that the delegation had travelled to Geneva only after they received written and verbal assurances from world powers that humanitarian issues would be addressed.


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