GENEVA Syria’s chief negotiator at U.N. peace talks in Geneva on Friday shipped a 40 minute polemic attacking the political and armed opposition and their foreign backers, labeling them all “terrorists”.
Refreshing from a two-hour meeting with U.N. mediator Staffan de Mistura, which he said had focused mainly on combating terrorism, Bashar al-Ja’afari instructed reporters he would follow up on Saturday with one more meeting, all over again all about terrorism.
De Mistura has said the agenda for the round of peace talks, predicted to run till April 1, covers four subjects: a new constitution, new elections, reformed governance, and counter-terrorism, provided at Ja’afari’s ask for.
The initially a few subjects are collectively supposed to be certain a political changeover in Syria – anathema to Assad, who has ruled considering the fact that the death of his father 17 years in the past. Ja’afari said they would not be neglected, but terrorism required to be the priority.
At the finish of the very last round of talks, his insistence on including terrorism appeared to be a probable mis-action, considering the fact that the opposition had taken ways to length by itself from groups designated as “terrorists” by the United Nations, and now said they ended up battling these groups.
At the identical time U.N. investigators accused Syria’s federal government of committing atrocities by making use of chlorine gas and bombing universities, hospitals and the Damascus water offer.
But a new rebel offensive has been spearheaded by Tahrir al-Sham, an alliance of Islamist factions dominated by a team that was formerly al Qaeda’s official affiliate in the Syrian war.
The opposition has also previously blamed Syria’s federal government and its allies for breaking a ceasefire, which is supposed to be assured by Assad’s allies Russia and Iran and by Turkey, which backs rebel groups in Syria.
Ja’afari said Turkish-backed rebel groups ended up now breaking the ceasefire, and coordinating with Tahrir al-Sham, evidence they ended up supporting terrorism and showing why terrorism required to best the agenda.
“Any person who objects to this sort of an tactic would simply just reveal their real encounter which is currently being a sponsor of terrorism,” he said.
He said the terrorist assaults had a single objective, which was to undermine the peace talks.
Bashr al-Shami, the head of Tahrir al-Sham’s legislative council, appeared to ensure that his team wished to derail the Geneva talks.
“To these who seem for salvation for this oppressed people through conferences, the reality has confirmed that drive can only be achieved with drive … and that these conferences are practically nothing but a mirage,” Shami said in a voice recording that Tahrir al-Sham circulated on social media.
Ja’afari, a veteran negotiator and Syria’s ambassador to the United Nations in New York, rattled off a checklist of “regimes” whom he considered “sponsors of terrorism”: Turkey, Saudi Arabia, France, Britain, Qatar, Jordan and Israel.
He did not incorporate the United States, which appears to be set to alter its Syria plan beneath President Donald Trump to aim on defeating Islamic State and al Qaeda-linked groups alternatively than trying to unseat President Bashar al-Assad.
(Reporting by Tom Miles further reporting by Ellen Francis in Beirut Modifying by Toby Chopra)