Syrian opposition: Regime delegation hindering peace talks process

Syrian opposition: Regime delegation hinders peace talks process
The Syrian opposition delegation to Geneva peace talks

The Syrian opposition said that the regime delegation is moving away from discussing the political solution, the main goal of the new round of peace talks in Geneva, by saying that fighting terrorism is the most important part.

Two suicide bombings in Syria’s Homs against security branches has cast its shadows on the new round of peace talks in Geneva. The attack in Homs began with clashes near a branch of military security in al-Mahatta district and a branch of state security in al-Ghouta district before suicide bombers struck in both locations.

The attacks left more than 42 military personnel killed including a top chief, and were later adopted by the insurgent alliance known as Tahrir al-Sham.

“the terrorist explosions that hit Homs city are a message to Geneva from sponsors of terrorism, and we tell everyone that the message is received and this crime won’t pass unnoticed.”

He added that his efforts now will be only focused of battling terrorism.

“I have just met with Staffan de Mistura. The meeting lasted 2.5 hours. The issue was combating terrorism. We requested de Mistura to issue a statement to condemn terrorist suicide attack by al-Nusra Front [terrorist organization] and partners in Homs today… We also requested de Mistura to ask other groups (at the talks), opposition platforms, to do the same,” Jaafari told reporters.

Regime is moving away from the political solution

Nasr Hariri, the head of the Syrian opposition High Negotiations Committee (HNC), said that the regime’s delegation is using this incident to pass its agendas and move away from the essential goal of the peace talks.

“[UN Special Envoy for Syria] Staffan de Mistura said first he wants to focus on political transition. We expected Jaafari to be that tough, because of what happened today…. But the thing that regime does not accept is transition. Their accusations are not real,” Hariri told reporters when asked to comment on Jaafari’s statement.

“We were the first ones to condemn terrorism… We are here to combat terrorism,” Hariri told reporters.

Salem al-Muslet, the HNC spokesman, also slammed the regime’s delegation’s statement.

“We are all against terrorism and we know how to fight against it in Syria. This issue was discussed in Astana. However, here in Geneva, the government representatives are making terrorism a cornerstone issue. They want to discuss only fight against terrorism and avoid other issues,” Muslet told Sputnik.

Muslet noted that the Geneva talks format was created to discuss the political process in Syria.

“The regime cannot fight against terrorism, because it creates terrorism in Syria and commits crimes against the Syrian people,” the HNC spokesman added.

Read more: Syria peace talks: Tension escalates after Homs attacks

Real backers of terrorism

The opposition’s delegation also said that the regime and its backers in Syria are the real sources of crimes and terrorism, and they should be put under pressure in order to end the crisis.

According to Hariri, Iran, which is one of the guarantors of Astana talks, is not a friend of Syria, as it is allegedly a “supporter of terrorism.”

“What do they (Damascus delegation) mean by sponsors of terrorism? Do they mean Friends of Syria? Or is it actually Iran who is the first sponsor and supporter of terrorism?” Hariri said.

In addition, Muslet said that Russia, as a guarantor country of the Syrian ceasefire regime, should take a well-balanced position and use its opportunities to impose pressure upon the regime and Iran to stop their crimes and terrorism against the Syrian civilians.

“Russia’s position must be balanced, we do not want it to bend over to the opposition or remain on its position supporting the regime. We want it to bend to the Syrian people’s side. The people of Syria are suffering, and we are hoping that these sufferings will end. Six years are enough, and the price is very high. Russia should put pressure on the regime, it could do this and exert pressure on Iran and its armed groups. We need to stop the death of the Syrian people,” Muslet said.

A game played by the regime

In the same order, Issam al-Reis, the spokesperson for the Southern Front branch of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), accused the Assad government of staging the attacks to influence the Geneva talks.

“During the last Geneva talks an explosion happened in the government area of Sayyda Zeinab, but now we’re talking about military and security branches, which is a military zone inside the [Homs] Green Zone. No one is allowed to enter these areas – not even close,” he said.

“So obviously this order is coming from the same branch to make these explosions because the pressure the regime is getting from Russia to be in the ceasefire may have pushed the regime to find an excuse to launch an attack.”

Nasr al-Hariri also said that “We, as opposition, condemn all terrorist acts [carried out] by all terrorist groups. If the Homs operation was done by any of those, it is clear what I say.”

However, he added that “the Syrian government in Damascus was the primary sponsor of terrorism.”

Col. Faleh Hassoun, another member of the delegation, cast doubt on who was behind the attack, pointing out that only those with security clearance could access such an area.

He told reporters “what really happened today we can call it liquidation by the regime of those who are wanted by international courts.” He said the brigadier general who was killed Saturday is accused in the killing of Rafik Hariri, the Lebanese premier who was assassinated in 2005. Many believe the government in Damascus was behind the assassination, and that it is working to clean every trail that links it to the incident, especially the officers who planned and conducted it.

The Syrian crisis began as a peaceful demonstration against the injustice in Syria. Assad regime used to fire power and violence against the civilians and led to armed resistance. 450.000 Syrians lost their lives in the past five years according to UN estimates, and more than 12 million have lost their homes.