Jaysh al-Islam leader named as negotiator for opposition in Syria talks

Published January 21st, 2016 - 05:00 GMT

The Supreme Commission for Negotiations labeled an Islamist rebel as its chief negotiator at the peace talks that the UN seeks to convene in Geneva on Monday.

Following a thorough review of the Commission’s proposed agenda to UN Special Envoy, Staffan de Mistura; the Commission approved the appointment of Mr. As’ad Al-Zo’ubi, a former Syrian army general, as the head of the opposition negotiating team, Mr. George Sabra, of the Syrian National Council, as deputy and Mr. Mohammed Alloush, the political leader of the powerful group Jaysh al-Islam, as chief negotiator.

Appointment of the delegation was based on a rigorous selection criteria taking into account qualifications, expertise and abilities to implement any future agreements on ground.

The assortment announced by head of the Supreme Commission for Negotiations, Riad Hijab in a press conference in Riyadh, was not granted approval by all the members of the commission.

The independent objector, Jamal Sulaiman, withdrew from the delegation, while the coordinating body indicated its withdrawal possibility unless certain amendments are to be done on the announced delegation.

The Chief Negotiator in the Supreme Commission for Negotiations, Mohammed Alloush, expressed his reservations toward the seriousness of the Syrian regime and the international parties supporting it to go through a new round of negotiations.

Alloush indicated that the other party will be confused by the presence of Jaysh al-Islam in the negotiating delegation. He also expected a media assault to be launched against him in the coming period because he will represent the delegation that will negotiate with the Assad regime.

In addition, Alloush also refused the presence of any additional party, adding to his statements to Asharq Al-Awsat that Russia wants the inclusion of some other opposition groups to nullify any political solution.

By Paula Astih and Nayef al-Rashid

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