Syria Daily, Jan 27: No Opposition-Rebel Bloc at “Peace Talks” on Friday


PHOTO: Coordinator of the opposition-rebel bloc, former Syrian Prime Minister Riad Hijab


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UPDATE 1630 GMT: UN envoy Staffan de Mistura has stepped back from inviting officials from the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) to Friday’s Geneva talks.

De Mistura told French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius that he had not invited any PYD representatives.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov confirmed the report but said Kurds may take part in a later stage of Syrian peace talks.

Russia had included PYD leader Saleh Muslim on its list of 15 names to be invited, and Syrian activist Randa Kassis — who has been asked to attend — said on Tuesday that Muslim had also received an invitation.

Both the Turkish Prime Minister and Foreign Minister said Ankara would boycott the talks if the PYD was present.

UPDATE 1545 GMT: French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has insisted that the opposition-rebel bloc will attend the Geneva talks on Friday.

Fabius said after meeting UN envoy Staffan de Mistura:

I spoke to [opposition-rebel coordinator Riad] Hijab….He will respond to [UN envoy Staffan] de Mistura and [UN Secretary-General] Ban Ki-moon this morning. If I understand their position, they say yes to negotiations.

However, an “opposition source” said the bloc, meeting in Riyadh, is still seeking an answer from de Mistura about meeting its preconditions, including ceasefires, detainee releases, and access to humanitarian aid for besieged areas: “We sent the questions. We are awaiting the response.”

ORIGINAL ENTRY: Syria’s main opposition-rebel bloc has confirmed that it will not attend UN-brokered talks in Geneva on Friday.

After meeting on Tuesday, the bloc said that it was suspending involvement in the process because preconditions for discussions had not been met. These included ceasefires with a halt to Russian and regime bombing, release of detainees from regime prisons, and humanitarian aid for besieged areas. It reiterated in a statement and in letters to the UN that the confidence-building measures must be implemented to ensure a productive engagement with the Assad regime.

US Secretary of State John Kerry had indicated last weekend that the conditions should not be met before the discussions, but should be addressed during the talks. UN envoy Staffan de Mistura had also given no sign that the issues should be addressed in advance of negotiations.

Instead, de Mistura sent invitations on Tuesday to some of the delegates on an alternative list of 15 names proposed by Russia. Invitees included Saleh Muslim, head of the Kurdish Democratic Party (PYD); Ilham Ahmed, a leading member of the Kurdish Democratic Society Movement; Randa Kassis, President of the domestic group Movement of the Pluralistic Society; Haitham Manna, head of the recently-created Syrian Democratic Council; and Qadri Jamil, a former Cabinet member with long-standing ties to Moscow.

The opposition-rebel bloc, established last month at a conference in Saudi Arabia, excluded the PYD. The President of the Syrian National Coalition, Khaled Khoja, said on Tuesday:

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov seeks to deceive the world by insisting on presenting the PYD as the Kurds’ sole representative in the upcoming negotiations. There are two members representing the Kurds in the opposition’s negotiating delegation formed by the High Negotiations Committee in Riyadh, and there are Kurdish members in all the bureaus and bodies formed thereafter.

The bloc maintains that the domestic Syrian politicians promoted by Russia are too close to the regime to constitute an opposition.

The opposition Local Coordination Committees supported the decision to stay away from Geneva. It said the delegates should reject any form of dictation and extortion and not be moved by pressure” from an Obama Administration which was moving closer to the Russian position behind the Assad regime.

Last weekend Kerry told the coordinator of the opposition-rebel bloc, former Prime Minister Riad Hijab, that it must attend Geneva or face a loss of support, according to senior opposition figures.

Kerry denied that he made the demand.

Turks Warn of Boycott of Talks

De Mistura’s invitations also defied a challenge by Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Foreign Minister Mevlut Çavuşoğlu that Ankara will boycott the meetings if the Kurdish PYD attends.

The Turkish Government maintains that the Syrian Kurdish movement is led by the Turkish Kurdish insurgency PKK, which has pursued an armed campaign for more than 30 years for autonomy. A ceasefire between Ankara and the group broke down last July.

However, Haitham Manna, one of the delegates on the Russian list, said he would not participate unless the PYD’s Saleh Muslim and another Kurdish leader, Ilham Ahmed, were also invited.

The Saudi Embassy to the UN issued a statement on Tuesday night backing the opposition-rebel bloc, “We commend the efforts of the opposition and the composition of the Supreme Commission for the negotiations, and we will continue to fully support the Syrian people to maintain unity of Syria.”

Lavrov Rejects US Request to Stop Bombing of Opposition Areas

Russian Foreign Ministry Sergei Lavrov has publicly rejected a US request to stop attacks on opposition-held areas of Syria and to focus on the threat of the Islamic State.

Lavrov said in a Tuesday press conference, “[US Secretary of State] John Kerry said in a telephone talk on inter-Syrian negotiations that some gestures should be made because the opposition in Riyadh will not go anywhere ‘as long as they are bombed for nothing.”

He responded:

We proposed to the US to organize daily coordination but there is no answer. And then they say: “You’re bombing the wrong people.” I’m at a loss. This is not a serious, adult-like talk. We have confirmed that our proposals on daily coordination remain in force and it is necessary to establish it and not simply to perform procedures helping avoid incidents.

Lavrov also said attention to starvation caused by the Syrian military’s sieges — such as the blockade on Madaya which has reportedly led to the deaths of more than 60 people — is a “fetish” to avoid political negotiations.

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  1. 1. LOL, so, the Sauds are indeed as pig-headed as everyone suspected. Now the hammering and strangulation of their Primadonna pets will commence in earnest, with Yankis doing the strangling while shirtless partner Vlad wields the Soviet worker’s hammer. The Yanki v Saud dissonance has already plunged NATO’s Twitter ‘revolutionaries’ into a deep depression, but it is about to get much worse:
    I predict that within 2 months of brutal punishment and mounting losses of terrain the Saud-Squad will swallow this false pride and drag themselves crestfallen to G3 for whatever crumbs may have fallen under the table.
    2. To what ‘betrayal’ did this Horan Brigades commander refer? “Look at Sheikh Miskeen…crushed, where are good Muslims? We have many injured/dead.. we betrayed each other…
    Well, here’s a clue:
    FSA Kapos in Amman told [their field commanders] that we can’t send TOW for defending Sheikh Miskin, as we are not allowed to do so as ordered by MOC
    In other words, Yankis directly ordered the FSA crushing defeat at SM. And now that Kerry’s properly pissed off after being stood up over G3 … well, it seems safe to say that the Southern Front is a goner in short order, and the screws will be immediately applied to Tayyip and Saud ‘king’ to follow suit.
    3. Moderate ‘rebels’ of Rabiah left this happy message of intended genocide before being expelled back to their Turkish base camps:
    We will exterminate the Alawites


      At the very least he apparently watches the site regularly and believes every word from its broadcasts. Now Trump is denying Vladjmir Putin’s murder of a critic who had moved to the USA, claiming “you can’t prove he did it.” Donald insists than when it comes to Putin, far more than proof beyond a REASONABLE doubt is required. Guilt must be proven absolutely–a logical impossibility that violates Occam’s Razor in logic. Even the Law of Gravity can’t be proven absolutely. Donald would have us believe the guy killed himself by dousing himself with radioactive polonium. And how would the average citizen get his hands on that (no problem for Putin however).


      Earlier Trump had claimed that “just because” more than 50 Russia journalists have been murdered over the last few years–All by coincidence Putin critics and several outside the country–is “no proof” that Putin did it. When is a denial unreasonable? Next Donald will agree that Putin is not corrupt even if he went from a lowly KGB man who left East Germany with a washing machine tied to his car and has since become the richest man in Russia. Trained by Russia Today, Trump will insist the Russians didn’t invade the Ukraine, that they are not intentionally bombing Sunni civilians in Syria and concentrating on bombing ISIS and that it was the Ukrainians, not the Russias who shot down that Dutch airline. “Where’s the proof to the contrary?” Donald would ask, sneeing at the strong evidence of Belling Cat and Dutch investigators.
      Putin and America-killing Khamenei along with Hezbollah are solid allies. In that case, will Trump believe everything that comes from Fars as well? We’ve had enough sellouts of US national security and that of our allies under Obama. Trump in the White House would be even worse. Given his Russian Times point of view, I suspect John McCain and others would wind up staying home in November or voting for Hillary if nominated. Since Bernie Sanders seems to be as big a Putin-lover as Trump, he like many of us would have to stay home should Sanders be nominated. IF OBAMA DOESN’T END SANCTIONS ON RUSSIA BEFORE LEAVING OFFICE, PUTIN-LOVING TRUMP SURELY WILL. We’d have replaced Khamenei’s Toy Boy with Putin’s Toy Boy.

      From Real Clear Politics:

      “Yes, Donald Trump Really Could Be The Republican Nominee For President”

      I’d say that if so, his only chance of winning is if Bernie Sanders runs as a Third Party candidate, doing to Hillary what Ralph Nadir did to pro-environment Al Gore in critical Florida with Bush being the beneficiary. In that case Bernie and his supporters will guarantee that Koch Brothers type fill the supreme court with three or four Scalia and Thomas-type judges. Tell me that wouldn’t make a difference. Tell me that wouldn’t be a sellout of everything Sanders claims to stand for. The Citizens United decision alone would be embedded in stone. Ditto new voting laws passed by the GOP to get around the Voting Rights Act and effectively ban many minority voters.

      • Russia special forces aiding
        Hezbollah in Latakia: report
        The sources said it was likely that “through intensive use of howitzer batteries and artillery, the Russian formations are inflicting much greater losses to personnel and infantry than the losses the Russian Air Force is inflicting.”

        Britain based monitoring NGO the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has also claimed that Russian ground troops participated in the offensive alongside Syrian army troops and allied militiamen.


        The Bundeswehr Backs Away From the Brink and Begins to Rearm in Response to Putin’s Threat

        Putin needs to consider this fundamental axiom, “Action Produces Reaction.” Good examples from the West are sanctions, German rearmament and the return of US forces to Europe. Among Sunnis, look for the coming counter-Genocide crusade on Russia’s southern borders. Any Russian-Iranian inspired gains in Syria will have the effect of speeding up the latter. Ditto, any pro-Gencide peace deal sellout.

        As for German rearmament, things to bear in mind. First, the German economy is much bigger than the Russian economy, which is a joke (about the size of Italy). Secondly, the Russian economy is in far more serious trouble, which will eventually force defense cuts, like it or not, unless Putin goes further in turning Russia into another North Korea. Finally, for Germany, there is a tech advantage in starting late. I would imagine the new Germany weaponry would be superior to Russia’s aging investment.
        The last thing to consider is that Poland, France, Scandinavia and Great Britain are all likely to step up defense expenditures in the face of Putin’s threat, just as Europe is cutting back on Russia oil and seeking alternatives. Putin gambled so much on high oil prices. including his ability to modernize.

      • Red surely since Donny will almost certainly fail to get the GOP primary, then he go as an independent then surely that will only favour the democrats because he will take maybe 15% of the republicans votes with him giving them less overall which benefit the Democrats, I think we in for the 1st Donkey hat trick since FDR! Looks like Donny ‘s just going to cut off the elephants tusks.

      • I saw an interview with Trump a couple of weeks ago in which the host told Trump that “Putin is killing journalists”. Trumps response…………”show me the evidence”
        No evidence has been given to Trump. He doesn’t fall for the BS and propaganda.

      • Donald Trump is a grotesque clown. I mean, just look at his face and the way in wich he behaves. The founding fathers must be turning in their graves at the sight of this sickening show.

    • I almost cry.Damn munafiqeen.FSA is a damn puppet n damn coward.The betrayal and slayer of the mujahideen.Sheikh Meskeen is lost,sooner you will found no way out.Jordan Farouh King will for sure betrayed you.You will be back to 3 years ago…where you will under siege and waiting to be tortured and slaughtered.We will see there are no victory without unity in mujahideen rank.This setback should be lesson learn.The infidel is only want to crate havoc.The shuhada blood is traded cheapest in Houran.

  2. Rest assured that somewhere deep in the bowels of the Pentagovernment, this rift has caused a peristaltic movement to push the contingency plans for Saud ‘régime-change’ towards the annular extrusion ring … if fulsome obedience does not follow in shart order the plot will be shat out and operationalised … tic tok.

      • You do realise per-day far more Syrians are being killed in Syria than Gaza and Somalia combined already. So that mute point, not to mention when the Alois Brunner hording (I going to guess from your name you know who he is) Barth Party falls so dose the al-Qaeda inspiring Hezballs and it weakens the Islamic Republic of Iran.

          • “This video shows you how Islamist Syrians are becoming, and how urgent and necessary it becomes that Assad wins this war”

            Hey!, this is outrageous!, anti-imperialists on this site had told us many times that you israelis want the ruin of Assad´s regime. By expressing your support to their side you are polluting their cause…

            • Top tier Netanyahudnik régime representatives [e.g. Oren & Ya’alon] have repeatedly expressed their preference for AQ/IS neighbours in a disintegrating nation rather than Assad allied to Iran in a united Syria still pursuing its claim on the stolen Golan. Amir seems to disagree with such Machiavellian attitudes about the benefits of keeping ‘a few riled up Muslims’ about the place.

              • Barbar, face the truth como un hombre. Die-hard zionists would give anything to return to the pre-war statu quo. For them, those 40 years of peacefull Assadist knee-bending were like a gift from YHVE.

              • @BS, that supposition may have some basis, but
                1. which of them are holding cabinet-level posts in the Netanyahu régime?
                2. Assad significantly contributed to the Israeli aggressors having their snouts rudely smashed in S.Lebanon, 2006, which humiliation the fanatical Chosenites do not easily forgive.
                3. Every action taken by Israel in Syria since 2011 has been consistently to the detriment of Assad and encouraging of his enemies.
                My conclusion: if they exist at all, these alleged Israeli Assadophiles either have no influence or are persistently outweighed by the Netanyahudnik faction determined to avenge themselves for 2006, break HZB’s link to Iran and hang onto the stolen Golan at any cost.

          • AITA Alios Bunner was an SS Hauptsturmführer who was wanted for 128,000 Jews to death camps in WWII, and given sanctuary by Hafez and used him to teach torture techniques to the Mukerbarat. He Eichmann’s number 2.

            “All of [the Jews] deserved to die because they were the Devil’s agents and human garbage. I have no regrets and would do it again”

            Syria in her present state is more dangerous than Palestine or Somalia so its too late to worry about that. Worrying Syria is more dangerous than Somalia or Gazza at this stage would be like worrying that the 2nd World War would be bigger and deadlier than the 1st in 1943.

            And remember taking out Asshead means the Mullahs cannot supply Hezballs (who I must stress again where the 1st Muslims to use kamikaze and inspired bin-Laden with their Barracks bombing) with weapons anymore. Once the Baathist eliet are killed, then rest country can unite to destroy Daesh for good and all and put Ibrahim in his bodyBagdadi.

  3. Russia kills 500 civilians in Syria, 200 of them were children and women:

    “SOHR was able to document the death of 471 civilians including ( 127 children and 56 women ), since the beginning of January/2016 until last night January 27th, they were all killed by Russian airstrikes targeted different Syrian provinces, SOHR also documented the death of 211 civilians including 30 children and 20 women, were also killed in January/2016, by Aerial bombardment by al-Assad air forces.”

  4. I think some more Syrians should show up to this conference, providing of course they all dress up like Mégas Aléxandros/Eskander al macdoni (Alexander the Great/Macedonian as they say in Greek and Arabic). What better way do address what the mullahs want and what the Syrians think of their dreams of a 3rd Aryan Empire. Not gonna lie last year as a souvoneer from Cyprus I brought little statue of Alexander partly out spite for the Mullahs and it looked nice if inaccurate, i.e. in he has a beard and he banned them (so an enemy could not grab them in battle) and he is wearing caligulas (army boots, where Roman Emperor Gaius got his nickname) when its well know he and the Macedonians walked all the way from there to Pakistan with bare feet.

  5. [and beyond]

    One day after Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon met with his Greek counterpart Panos Kammenos in Athens, Greek leader Alexis Tsipras is expected in Israel on Wednesday for bilateral talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

    Talks between the two leaders are expected to focus on energy and security in the Eastern Mediterranean region. Tsipras will be accompanied by nine ministers.

    Following the meeting on Wednesday, Tsipras and Netanyahu will both travel to Cyprus for a tripartite summit with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades.

  6. Update:

    #Aleppo: 1) More consolidations? “Shamiya Front & Thuwar as-Sham rebel groups operating mainly in #Aleppo announce complete merge” – northern stork

    And “The biggest two brigades in Aleppo
    @shamfront11 and @k_th_alsham Thiwar al sham has united today in one brigade , one leader,one managment” – YousefNat

    I suppose one of the positive side-effects for the rebels in northern Syria is that the Russian and Iranian military presence has facilitated larger groups to take over smaller groups but will this ‘complete’ merger improve coordination during operations? Improve training and leadership?

    2) “Assad Air Force dropped a barrel bomb on Sheikh Maksoud YPG-held Kurdish neighborhood” – raytheonunited

    A warning shot not to get too close to the Americans? If I were the Kurds I’d tell regime to give it their best shot, they can’t fight rebels and Kurds at the same time.

    #Homs: “Over 20 people were killed in 2 explosions in the Alawite Alzahra neighborhood in Homs.” – Abduhark


    #Latakia: I hope the Israelies are paying attention to this – Russia assisting Hezbollah in Latakia province.

    #Deraa: Oh dear, oh dear “SAA have taken control of Tel Hamad & Tel Koum, Sheikh Miskeen front in total disarray.” – Ald_Aba

    I’ve said this many times, if the Southern Front rebels can’t fight a dirty guerilla war – Vietcong style – with regime/SAA then they should either quit and become smugglers with extensive tunnelling system like in Gaza or their younger officers should launch coup against their leadership so they can fight a more effective war. They should make their choice soon or else they may end up in Iraq being interrogated by IRGC-backed locals.

    #Interesting development: “#Hizbullah is forcing several families to evacuate their houses in #Madaya & demanding that they will leave without return to their village” – sahloul

    So the sectarian/ethnic pogroms begin? I always suspect something nasty like this will begin near the Lebanese-Syria border.

    • “They should make their choice soon or else they may end up in Iraq being interrogated by IRGC-backed locals.”

      No chance of that, they know Iran controls the regime so won’t work with them.

    • Israel supports Nusra in southern Syria. Funded by Qatar. How much do they pay Israel per missile?
      Arab kings promised Netanyahu that the Golan would be given to him after Assad was toppled. Not working out as planned.

      • Lol. Where are you channeling all that garbage from?. You could start a book with all that junk and then advertise it at infowars.

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