Syria Rebels Reject Sochi Peace Initiative

إقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية W460

More than three dozen Syrian rebel groups, including influential Islamists, have rejected a Russian-led initiative for talks next month in Sochi on ending Syria's war.

Russia and Iran, both key allies of Syria's regime, agreed with opposition backer Turkey on Friday to hold a "Congress of National Dialogue" in the Black Sea resort of Sochi on January 29 and 30.

Syria's government swiftly said it would attend but rebels have pushed back, calling it a Russian bid to eclipse a United Nations-led process in Geneva.

"We completely reject Russia's attempt to circumvent the Geneva track," the rebels said in a joint statement published Monday.

"We call on all forces to stand in one rank against these alarming dangers."

It was signed by 40 factions, including Islamist powerhouse Ahrar al-Sham and groups that have been backed by the United States such as the Mutasem Brigades.

Some of the factions played a significant role in the rebellion since the war broke out in 2011 but most have either been sidelined by other groups or control only small pockets of land.

Mustefa Sejari, a top Mutasem Brigades figure, told AFP on Tuesday that rebels could not see Russia as an honest broker.

"From the beginning, we said whoever wants to play an intermediary and guarantor role in Syria needs to be neutral, fair, and honest in its support of political transition," Sejari said.

"Russia has not done these things -- it is a partner in the killing of the Syrian people," he added.

Syria's conflict erupted in 2011 with anti-government demonstrations, but it has since morphed into a complex war drawing in world powers, including Russia.

Repeated attempts to reach a political solution to the war have failed, with the UN-backed process in Switzerland bearing little fruit.

Russia, Turkey, and Iran began hosting talks between Syria's government and armed rebels in Kazakhstan earlier this year, and announced the Sochi conference at the most recent round last week.

The United Nations has yet to firmly endorse the summit, and opposition representatives have largely been wary of it.

The main stumbling block over any political solution remains the fate of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, with much of the opposition sticking firm to calls for his ouster. 

Comments 3
Thumb Mystic 26 December 2017, 13:14

Then they will continue to die, even better this way.

Thumb chrisrushlau 26 December 2017, 15:23

"He": the thirty groups collectively field one soldier. At the moment, the position is vacant. The most recent occupant is on a ski holiday in Switzerland with Lebanon's Minister of Culture, Lt. Col. Al Rahi, and the Queen of England. All skiing is being done by English surrogates. He hopes to move on to a career in TV news, his spokesperson told Swiss authorities.

Thumb whyaskwhy 26 December 2017, 19:28

Don't be too proud all sides are loosing their youth and misguided leaders are doing exactly what Israel wants. Kizb and the rest are good employees and as such will be recognized by the Yid employer for their efficiency and diligence in killing EACH other. No I cannot say this is a surprise just natural selection at work between similar cultures who adorn death and glorify it. Meanwhile the rest of the world moves on and says what a shame that the only achievement for the Middle Easterners is killing each other to claim victory and honor. Last I heard Tel Aviv was still standing but to comply with the ruling majority in Lebanon I too have to add "death to the Yids".