France: Syria's Moderate Opposition in 'Serious Difficulty'

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French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Saturday that the moderate opposition to the Syrian regime is in "serious difficulty" and that long-delayed peace talks aimed at ending the crisis are in trouble.

"On Syria, I'm unfortunately rather pessimistic," Fabius said.

"The moderate opposition that we support is in serious difficulty," he added, voicing misgivings over the prospects of peace talks known as "Geneva 2", which mediators have been trying to organize to negotiate an end to the conflict.

The talks are scheduled for January 22 in the Swiss city, but Fabius said there were doubts over whether they would make progress towards ending the civil war that has now raged for more than two and a half years and killed more than 126,000 people.

"My fellow European ministers and I are working to make (the talks) a success, but there's room for lots of doubts. And, unfortunately, if this meeting's not a success, it means this martyred country is going to keep suffering -- and neighboring countries, too," he said.

Fabius was speaking in Monaco as he left the World Policy Conference, a meeting of political and business leaders.

The Free Syrian Army, the moderate rebel group supported by Western powers including France, has been losing ground to Islamist fighters as the insurgency against President Bashar Assad has turned into a more complex conflict with schisms between the various rebel groups.

In the latest blow to the Free Syrian Army, the United States and Britain on Wednesday suspended all non-lethal aid to the group after a powerful new rebel alliance, the Islamic Front, seized a Turkish border crossing and nearby weapons warehouses from them.

Also at the meeting, influential Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal was equally pessimistic about the prospects for peace in Syria, hitting out at a lack of support for the Free Syrian Army from Washington and London.

"The fighting is going to continue, the killing is going to continue," Turki told journalists.

He criticized a "lopsided" situation in which Assad had access to weapons such as tanks and missiles.

"You name it, he is getting it and the other side is screaming out to get defensive weapons against these lethal weapons that Assad has. Why should he stop the killing?," he said.

"Since the beginning of this conflict, since the FSA arose as a response to Assad's attacks on his people, Britain and the U.S. did not come forward and provide the necessary aid to the FSA to allow it to defend itself."

The prince said a more level playing field would make a ceasefire more likely.

"The Free Syrian Army hasn't been overrun by other opposition groups. The FSA is alive and well in Damascus, Aleppo, Hama, Homs, Deir Ezzor.... Nonetheless, I describe Syria as a festering wound that attracts all the worst bacteria."

The opposition wants the Geneva peace conference to unseat Assad, but his regime has refused to accept any preconditions on the talks.

Comments 16
Thumb ice-man 15 December 2013, 10:18

Do you believe in astrology? What's your horoscope, flamethrower? Virgo?

Thumb cedars2 15 December 2013, 11:26

You forgot to add closure to HA weapons and most of its leadership in jail.

Thumb cedars2 15 December 2013, 11:53

Hahaha Skeleton... classic.
Yes please give him closure

Thumb lebpatriot888 15 December 2013, 13:25

A moderate Syrian opposition exists but never participated in any violence. If elections were held today, the silent moderate opposition would elect Bashar again rather than take Syria into the abyss with cannibal terrorists.

Thumb lebanon_first 15 December 2013, 13:44

Ya patriot ya zagzag. There was one incident of cannibalism a few months ago, and that is all your little brain understood and saw, and you have been mentioning it over and over again clinging to it like to a lifeline to justify your love for the evil forces of assad.

Thumb lebanon_first 15 December 2013, 15:14

roar. I sympathize with the nuns and the bishops. Horrible things happen in wars. And I strongly condemn it because they are people of peace and religion.

However. I am lebanese and not syrian. I sympathize with my fellow sunni or shia lebanese before the christian syrians.

To remind you, the christian syrians were the commanders of the assad army who bombarded christian lebanon. They were the commanders of the syrian secret service who killed loads of lebanese. I have no affiliation to christian syrians.

As for the cannibalism issue, you are smart enough to know that it was blown out of proportion to feed simple minds such as the mind of dinosaur brain lebpatriot.

Thumb lebanon_first 15 December 2013, 13:45

FT. you should write in "The economist 2014" :)

Thumb lebpatriot888 15 December 2013, 16:15

@actionman and Paul. Hahahaha. Traitors! You are betraying yourselves when you support these cannibal terrorists.

Missing peace 15 December 2013, 16:32

and who are you to support a regime that killed hundreds of lebanese, tortured, kidnapped bombed erased lebanese villages, stole the lebanese treasury, humiliated lebanese at checkpoints .... a patriot? LOL

Missing peace 15 December 2013, 16:47

that is exactly what hezbis and bashar want people to believe! that without him syria is lost... megalomaniac behaviour of a typical dictator....
and of course M8 falls deliberately for it as their survival depends on the one of bashar.... nothing more!
like israel and the USA which prefer bashar to stay in place so that he still protects the golan heights...

Missing peace 15 December 2013, 17:49

they won't take over because they are manipulated by the regime to make you support bashar and to weaken the true opposition....

Missing peace 15 December 2013, 18:12

many masters... not just one :)

Thumb cedars2 15 December 2013, 19:22

Cannibal this cannibal that, if someone massacred my family id eat his heart as well. Or not? Did you think in war there are no horrors? What about when your ashraf il nass pull out critically wounded Syrian teenagers out of an ambulance and execute them, isn't that horrific and condemned by you? Or or or. Wake up smell the roses, your boys are committing atrocities there as well.
let me see eating a heart= burning a family alive, eating a heart= shooting children in the head?
Are you blind or do you choose to be blind?

Thumb lebpatriot888 15 December 2013, 19:58

Spoken like a true cannibal terrorist cedars darling....

The ambulance story is a fake and you know it. It was cannibal terrorists' lame attempt to discredit HA. That will never happen.

Thumb lebpatriot888 15 December 2013, 20:02

I have no master darling actionman. You are the retard darling! Hamza el khatib has nothing to do with cannibals and may God rest his soul. Dont use him for your propaganda to support your terrorist cannibal friends.

Thumb lebpatriot888 15 December 2013, 23:11

I said don't use the child to promote your cannibal terrorist friends, darling!