"Tolerated" Syrian opposition leader arrested ahead of meeting with Russians
Agence France-Presse reported Thursday that Syrian opposition leader Rajaa Nasser was arrested by government police days before he was scheduled to leave for talks in Moscow. The dissident, who is party to the National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change (NCCDC), was recently "tolerated" by President Bashar al-Assad's regime, but Thursday's arrest represents a new turn of the tides.
Nasser was arrested in the Baramkeh district of Damascus by a security patrol according to AFP's source, party chief Hassan Abdel Azim. No details or justification for is arrest were provided, but Azim and Nasser had been scheduled to go to Moscow November 26 to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
According to the report, Lavrov had invited the leaders to Moscow as part of its effort to ensure that a Geneva II peace conference to end the conflict in Syria takes place in mid-December.
However, Thursday's arrest does not represent the first detention of a NCCDC member. Abdel Aziz Khair has been in detention since September 2012.