Islamic World

Syria opposition puts off peace talks decision until Friday

Syria opposition puts off peace talks decision until Friday
A member of the Syrian pro-government forces sits on a sofa in the strategic town of Salma, in the coastal Latakia province, on January 15, 2016, following its recapture from rebel fighters. Russia began air strikes last September aiding the Syrian regime in the recapture of territory such as the town of Salma, that became a rebel stronghold after its 2012 capture. Simultaneously, the army is seeking to encircle the city of Aleppo, advance in the south of central Hama province and east in Homs, and is on the offensive in the key rebel town of Sheikh Miskeen in southern Daraa province. / AFP / YOUSSEF KARWASHAN

Riyadh: Syrian opposition members meeting in Riyadh have postponed until tomorrow a decision on whether to attend peace talks due to start in Geneva the same day, delegates said.

“I believe tomorrow we will take a decision” on whether or not to attend the UN-brokered negotiations, said one delegate from the Saudi-backed High Negotiations Committee.

“We will not be in Geneva tomorrow,” said another opposition source.

The Committee was formed in December when the main Syrian political opposition and armed factions came together in Riyadh for an unprecedented bid at unity, after months of Saudi effort.

It insists that it is the sole permitted representative of Syria’s opposition, despite objections from others.

The Committee has met for three days in the Saudi capital to discuss whether or not to participate in the Geneva process.

It had said it was waiting for UN “clarifications” after the UN issued invitations to other opposition figures.

But delegate Monzer Makhos told AFP that members “would not be there” in Geneva for the planned start of talks “as we have yet to make a decision”.

The Committee wants assurances from the international community that it will move to end regime attacks on civilians and allow humanitarian aid.

The Riyadh discussions were to resume at 0600 GMT tomorrow, the delegate said.

Khawla Mattar, spokeswoman for the UN-mediated talks between the Syrian government and opposition, said today there would be “no postponement from our side”.