Foreign-backed militant groups in Syria have rejected a plan by the United Nations to end the conflict in the Arab country, a day after the Damascus government said it is ready to take part in such an initiative.
The militant groups issued a statement on Saturday rejecting the initiative by the UN special envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura.
The statement, a rare case of unity among the militant groups, which include those directly backed by the United States such as Division 101, said the initiative includes mechanisms that would more benefit the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
“We consider that the ‘work groups’ initiative in its current form and its unclear mechanisms provides the perfect environment to reproduce” the government, said the statement by the so-called National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces.
It said the initiative fails to properly address the UN resolutions on Syria, including one which has forced the Syrian government to dismantle its chemical weapons program.
Reports said the statement came after a meeting in Istanbul, Turkey, earlier in the week where representatives of the militant groups discussed plans by the UN envoy.
The announcement came just one day after the Syrian government said it was ready to participate in the UN peace plan. Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem said Friday that the government of Assad was ready to participate in de Mistura's initiative, although he said that Damascus would not be necessarily bound by its outcome.
The initiative, unveiled in July, is aimed at inviting warring parties to form four UN-led working groups to discuss a roadmap to peace in Syria.
According to de Mistura, the working groups could prepare the ground for a “Syrian-owned framework document” for a transitional governing body, mechanisms for holding intra-Syrian dialogue and a constitution drafting process.
Since March 2011, Syria has been experiencing deadly turmoil fueled by militant groups.
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