Opposition in Syria Rejects International Peace talks

The opposition coalition in Syria has announced it will not take part in peace talks held by the international community while the forces of President Bashar al-Assad are being supported by Hezbollah.

The head of the opposition coalition in Syria said Friday the group would not participate in peace talks as long as Hezbollah guerillas from Lebanon were fighting alongside Syrian regime military forces.

However, it was unclear if George Sabra’s statement was the final word from the fragmented organization.

The United States and Russia are attempting to draw representatives from Assad and from his opponents into peace talks in Geneva. The idea is for them to form a transitional government to try to end the conflict that has killed thousands over a period of more than 24 months.

However, the coalition has been troubled with many disagreements during talks recently in Istanbul.

A coalition spokesperson said the group still had not made its final decision about the Geneva talks. Another coalition official said the view by Sabra was not necessarily representative of the wider opposition.

During the talks in Istanbul, the coalition voted to participate in the conference in Geneva only if an international settlement deadline was guaranteed and based on the exit of Assad.

However, Sabra said Assad forces recently conducted an offensive and were supported by Hezbollah fighters backed by Iran. The offensive captured Quasyr an important border town.

Sabra said it was difficult to continue talks when the opposition was being hit continuously be the regime’s troops with help from outside forces such as Russia and Iran.

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