Major Syrian opposition group opts out of Geneva talks

Published May 11th, 2015 - 11:37 GMT

The Syrian National Coalition has announced that it will not participate in the ongoing talks in Geneva to end the Syrian civil war and another planned conference in Cairo next week.

The UN-organized negotiations in Geneva, which began on Tuesday last week, hosts more than 40 groups from Syria in a bid to find a negotiated solution to the bloody civil war.

This latest round of negotiations is expected to last four to six weeks and involves meetings among envoys and experts.

UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura has been meeting opposition and Bashar al-Assad regime figures as part of the talks, which even UN officials admit are unlikely to help bring an end to the bloody war.

The Syrian National Coalition Secretary-General Yahya Maktabi told Anadolu Agency Monday that the decision was made because the majority of de Mistura's team allegedly "favored the Syrian regime" and that the coalition was "being treated like any other opposition group."

Ahmad Ivad, a coalition member, said that the umbrella group took the decision after extended negotiations, taking into account the manner of invitation and the "unacceptability of Iran being invited."

The Istanbul-based Syrian National Coalition was one of the main parties representing the Syrian opposition in the first and second Geneva conferences in 2012 and 2014 respectively. However, the group appeared to gradually lose touch with developments on the ground, particularly after the outbreak of the Daesh extremist group that ravaged Iraq and Syria.

In January 2014, the coalition’s threat to abandon the upcoming UN-hosted talks in Geneva after a last-minute invitation to Iran had resonated enough with UN officials to prompt a withdrawal of the invite.

According to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, The National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, also known as the Syrian National Coalition, is a coalition of opposition groups formed in Doha, Qatar, in November 2012.

© Copyright Andolu Ajansi

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