Syrian President Assad adamant in refusing negotiations with 2 militant groups, calls for their exclusion in Geneva peace talks
Jan 31, 2016 11:43 PM EST
Syrian has expressed its desire to bar two militant groups from attending the United Nations-sponsored peace talks in Geneva. The two groups, Ahrar Al-Sham and the Army of Islam, have been fighting to overthrow the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
President Bashar Assad's administration is reportedly hesitant to accept the removal of Ahrar Al-Sham and the Army of Islam's removal from the list of terrorist organizations prohibited from attending the peace talks in Geneva, which will focus on coming up on an agreeable solution to the worsening Syrian conflict.
The multiparty meetings in Geneva are the realization of last month's UN resolution that envisions a timetable running for 18 months that will see to the political transition in Syria. It also outlines the drafting of a new constitution as well election of new officials.
Jordan was tasked by the United Nations Security Council through a resolution to compile an agreed list of terrorist organization that should be barred from participating in the peace negotiations.
Arab News reported that while the ultraconservative Ahrar Al-Sham is not part of the delegates set to be sent to Geneva, the team will have Army of Islam official Mohammed Alloush as its chief negotiator.
Syria and its close ally Russia are of the same view that both militant groups are extremists. Opposition groups also share the same view that both groups are considered as rebels although they do not believe the same ideologies.
According to TASS, Moscow is adamant that Ahrar Al-Sham and Jaish Al-Islam be excluded from the Syria peace talks.
Russia Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova said on Friday that it would be difficult to have terrorist organizations join the talks.
"It is necessary to paraphrase the question of 'what's Russia's attitude' and readdress it to other members of the world community asking what's their attitude to the inclusion of terrorist organizations [in peace talks]," Zakharova said. "Terrorist organizations should not participate in the negotiations. If we talk about the fight against terrorism, it should be built on common principles without double standards and without dividing terrorists into 'good' and 'bad'."
Syrian Information Minister Omar Al-Zoubi also said on state TV Saturday that the Syrian government "will neither sit down directly with terrorists, nor have dialogue with them."
A group representing Syria's main opposition group arrived in Geneva on Saturday. The group is demanding for Assad's compliance with a UN resolution on allowing humanitarian aid into the country as well as the monitoring of human rights.
"We are keen to make this negotiation a success," opposition spokesperson Salim al-Msulat told Reuters.
Meanwhile, the recent Damascus blast on Sunday that killed fifty people has set a more intense atmosphere for the peace talks, which is set to begin on Monday.