Syrian opposition coalition to attend Geneva II, reaffirms Iran cannot be involved
The Syrian opposition National Coalition announced late Wednesday that the group will attend the proposed Geneva II talks aimed to solve the Syrian conflict, according to Reuters.
Coalition leader Ahmad Jarba told Reuters and the Associated Press, "“We are now ready to go to Geneva,” emphasizing the group's position that the talks can serve as "[a step to a leadership transition and a] genuine democratic transformation in Syria."
Jarba emphasized the group's position that President Bashar al-Assad can not be involved in Syria's future leadership. "“There is no way that the individual responsible for the destruction of the country can be responsible for building the country,” said Jarba, referring to Assad.
The coalition leader also mentioned Iran, saying that the Persian country should not be involved in the talks "under the current reality," and should only be allowed to attend if the country withdraws its forces and proxies that are perpetuating the was in Syria.
“Iran is responsible for and takes part in the killing in Syria in a very clear way. It killed thousands of Syrians with its Revolutionary Guards and mercenaries from Hezbollah, which is considered a terrorist group. If Iran is serious about resolving the Syrian crisis, it must first withdraw its Revolutionary Guards and (Lebanese) Hezbollah mercenaries,” he said.
Iran, along with Russia, have been vehement supporters of the Assad regime throughout the war that has killed more than 100,000. Syrian government officials also stated Wednesday that the West should stop "dreaming" about Assad stepping down from power or forego attending the proposed peace talks.
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