Syria opposition pin hopes on Trump after 'catastrophic' Obama

It is scheduled that the delegation of the Syrian Arab Republic, headed by Bashar al-Jaafari, will meet the UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura later today in the framework of the fourth round of the Syrian-Syrian dialogue.

"The people in Syria paid a high price because of the catastrophic mistakes made by the Obama administration", Nasr al-Hariri told reporters in a briefing after meeting United Nations mediator Staffan de Mistura.

The effectiveness of Geneva talks depends on Russian Federation and the USA, as they are the "key players", a member of the opposition of HNC Abdulhakim Bashar said.

"This was a sound meeting, constructive discussion about the Syrian negotiation round". There are two other opposition groups as well as the HNC.

He added: "Of course we would like to see direct talks between Syrian government delegation and a united opposition delegation, but we must admit that this is not attainable right now".

The opposition wants to discuss "political transition" and, after hearing from de Mistura said they believed that Russian Federation had persuaded Syria's government negotiators that it should be on the agenda of the talks.

Resolution 2254 lays the basis for discussions on a political transition, including a new constitution, UN-supervised elections and accountable governance.

Meanwhile, the delegation of HNC believes that the fight against terrorism is not a priority at intra-Syrian talks in Geneva as this topic can be discussed in Astana, the official spokesman of the delegation Salem al-Muslim stated.

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A ceasefire backed by Russia, Iran and Turkey has not stopped the fighting.

Government forces launched attacks around Qaboun in the days leading up to the current round of peace talks, the fiercest assault there for more than two years, according to the Observatory and a medical worker in the area.

"We will not deal with it, and if (UN mediator Staffan de Mistura) adds it in any time we will not deal with it or discuss it", Yehya Kodmani of the High Negotiating Committee (HNC) told reporters. "We are here to... send a message to the new American administration which is trying... to fight terrorism, that we are the side working for peace and security in Syria".

Iran and Assad are openly opposed to Russia's more flexible stance, which it sees as necessary to involve the USA and its allies in a post-war reconstruction and secure an exit strategy for its military campaign in Syria, said Shumilin of the Institute for US and Canada Studies.

Gatilov, who arrived Monday in the Swiss city and met with Syrian regime negotiator Bashar Jaafari, adopted the same position of the regime, which insists on placing the issue of fighting terrorism on the agenda of the Geneva talks.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said earlier that Russia and the Syrian opposition HNC have a common understanding over further steps needed to resolve the Syria crisis. "But if the USA vacuum continues, I think Mistura will face a lot of obstacles on the way to a political solution".

"You have to wonder if it's not just another ruse to win time", said one diplomat.

  • Adam Floyd