As negotiations continue in Geneva in hopes of ending the conflict in Syria, opposition leaders say little progress has been achieved and Assad’s regime is to blame. The head of the opposition’s delegation blamed them for the failure of the previous round of talks.
Nasr Hariri, head of the delegation of the opposition’s High Negotiations Committee (HNC) stressed that the Assad regime is to blame for the stalled talks which wrapped up on Friday. “To this point, negotiations have not resulted in relative progress, but we hope it did not fail altogether,” said Hariri.
He also pointed out that the opposition discussed the constitutional procedures governing the political process “to guarantee the rights of the Syrian people” and the security measures to be implemented during the transitional period, as well as elections, which are supposed to take place at the end of the transitional period.
“Through its participation in the Geneva talks, the opposition is seeking to put an end to the suffering of the Syrian people,” said Hariri. He also noted that the Assad regime has killed more than 1,000 civilians since the fifth round of talks began on February 23.
Iran has played an active role in Syria, both in training troops and sending their own, all in support of Assad’s regime. In spite of the ceasefire, tensions and conflicts continue to escalate. The Syrian people are dealing with a grave humanitarian crisis, as many are displaced and struggling to meet basic needs, including food, clean water and medical care.
The HNC’s delegation also sought to ensure the implementation of the humanitarian provisions set out in UN resolutions and to reach a just political solution without Bashar al-Assad and his elite.
“We cannot say that negotiations succeeded or failed. We are fully aware that negotiations would be lengthy and difficult, but the other party does not want to negotiate,” said Hariri. “They are solely discussing their empty rhetoric about countering terrorism, although they attracted terrorism to region, they used all kinds of weapons, and they used siege and chemical weapons against Syrian people.”
He also noted that although Russia claims to support a political process, Moscow continues to support the Assad regime and contribute to demographic change that is being carried out by the Assad regime within the country.
Throughout the peace talks, UN mediator Staffan de Mistura has encouraged both sides to show respect each other and avoid trading inflammatory accusations. During this fifth round of talks, the two main delegations have traded accusations of terrorism.
De Mistura said substantive matters had been discussed, but he declined to specify, instead cautioning against dismissing or underestimating the “hard” work undertaken by all sides in Geneva saying that such negotiations are necessary to set the stage for a real peace process.
Fighting has intensified over the past two weeks in Syria with insurgent groups launching wide offensives on parts of the capital Damascus, Assad’s seat of power, and the central province of Hama where rebels captured several villages and got close to the provincial capital that carries the same name.