Syrian opposition says United Nations talks must focus on transition, fears Iran's role

Yet another sequel to chronically-fruitless Syria peace talks, or an entirely new script?

The UN has sought to play down expectations for the talks, with the special envoy on Syria, Staffan de Mistura, saying he has little hope for a breakthrough, but wants to move towards restarting a peace process to end the six-year war.

Reporting from Geneva, Euronews' Faiza Garah said: "At the end of the first day of negotiations, the HNC eventually accepted De Mistura's request to involve the two Moscow and Cairo platforms in the opening session".

UN-brokered Syrian peace talks resume in Geneva on Thursday, but hopes of a breakthrough are dim, clouded by persistent violence and deadlock over the country's political future.

The envoy also said he will refuse any preconditions ahead of the talks, which he said would focus on new elections, a new constitution and governance in Syria.

Damascus stressed that the "moment of truth" has some "to double efforts to unite the global community in its fight against terrorism and punish the countries supporting it".

Kouch said the chances for reaching a solution are slim, citing the continued government offensives on several areas across Syria, the absence of the dominant Syrian Kurdish faction - the Democratic Unity Party (PYD) - at the negotiating table and major divisions within the opposition. Over the past few years, tens of thousands of fighters and their families have been evacuated from around the country to Idlib province. The 21-member delegation also includes Mohammed Alloush of the rebel Army of Islam, as well as army defectors including Fateh Hassoun, Moaatasem Shammeir, Ahmad Osman, Ziad Hariri and Khaled Naboulsi.

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Trump has said that defeating the Islamic State group is Washington's top priority in the region and that the U.S. would be narrowly focused on American interests. The talks are the first UN-mediated negotiations on Syria in nearly a year. The United States, under the Obama administration, and Russian Federation had been leading the diplomatic push at the time, but now Washington's line is unclear as President Donald Trump continues to assemble his foreign-policy team.

Assad's envoys said they came to the conference to raise awareness of what they say is the threat posed by terrorists exploiting the chaos in Syria and spreading into other Middle Eastern countries and around the globe. Those joint efforts led to both the cease-fire and talks between the Syrian sides in Astana, Kazakhstan.

On the second day of the revived talks, United Nations mediator Staffan de Mistura met the regime's chief delegate Bashar al-Jaafari. "So, I am convinced that they will be very supportive with whatever we try to do", de Mistura said. But violations occur daily.

The Geneva talks are to follow on from similar discussions in the Kazakh capital Astana that were conducted under the auspices of Russia, Iran and Turkey who all have a hand in the conflict.

Anas al-Abdah added:"as long as Bashar al-Assad holds the power, the successful and effective strategy could not be formulated to fight terrorism. The regime only believes in military solution, killing and destruction", he said.

Anas al-Abdah demanded the new US government to design a clear strategy towards the current situation in Syria.

  • Megan Austin