Peace envoy to Syria expected in Damascus Monday
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani meets with International Peace envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi in Tehran on October 27, 2013. [ATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty Images]
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The U.N Arab League envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, to arrive in Damascus for the first time on Monday as part of a regional tour to discuss preparations for Geneva II peace conference planned for next month.
The visit comes after main opposition group leaders refused to attend the confren, maintaining that sitting down with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad constitute as an act of treason.
Having dismissed Brahimi's call for a "real change" by branding him as biased and calling him an "aging tourist", Damascus now welcomes the envoy as long as he remains impartial.
In his attempt to support UN efforts in addressing the Syrian conflict, Brahimi's regional tour had previously taken him to Turkey, Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar.
Brahimi is pushing for regime and rebel representatives to come together at the negotiating table, meanwhile, Syrian opposition groups looking to topple the Assad government continue to cast doubt on wether they will take part in the peace conference.
"We announce that the Geneva II conference is not, nor will it ever be our people's choice or our revolution's demand," said the statement read out by Suqur al-Sham brigade chief Ahmad Eissa al-Sheikh in a video posted online.
Under pressure from its Western backers to attend, the Syrian opposition group is to meet on November 9 to decide whether to take part in the peace conference.
However, the National Coalition opposition group has insisted it will not attend the conference unless there are guarantees it will lead to Assad's fall.