Syria's main opposition group has regretted Russia's veto on Syria after Moscow rejected a Western-backed UN Security Council resolution to punish the regime of Bashar al Assad.
Salem al-Muslet, a spokesman for the High Negotiations Committee (HNC) representing opposition forces at Geneva peace talks, said that the opposition regretted Russia's seventh veto on Syria, but planned to meet Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov in hopes of convincing Russia to use its influence on Assad.
"We hope that they come here having something in mind to push the political process here in Geneva, because with this regime, we will reach nowhere unless there is a pressure and the only country that can deliver pressure on the regime is Russia," Muslet said.
The UN resolution, vetoed by Russia, China and Bolivia on Tuesday, had aimed to ban the supply of helicopters to the Syrian regime and to blacklist regime army commanders and companies allegedly involved in chemical weapons attacks in the six-year war.
— Asaad Hanna (@AsaadHannaa) March 1, 2017
Political transition in Geneva talks
"Political transition is the only way to tackle terrorism in Syria and maybe in the entire region," Nasr al-Hariri, who leads the Syrian opposition delegation said on Wednesday.
"The political transition will open the doors for stable Syria and it is key to solve terrorism in Syria."
Al-Hariri accused the regime of undermining the political process by targetting civilians "on the pretext of fighting terrorism." He also gave details of civilian deaths since the Geneva talks began.
Syrian negotiators are meeting face to face under the UN flag for the first time in three years in Geneva in a bid to end the six-year conflict.
UN Syria Envoy Staffan de Mistura proposed to negotiators that the issue of fighting terrorism and a fragile ceasefire should be handled in parallel talks in the Kazakh capital Astana, sponsored by Russia, Turkey and Iran.
The Assad regime and its key ally Russia wants the Geneva talks to include a discussion of terrorism. The opposition wants the regime to discuss political transition.
The opposition is ready to make concessions, but the government (regime) must commit to a political transition. After that we'll talk about everything and we're ready to add terrorism to the list - Salem al-Muslet, spokesperson of HNC.
TRT World's Sarah Firth who is following the peace talks in Geneva has more details.
UN report on rights abuses
A UN panel on Syria unveiled its conclusions in rights abuses by all sides in the war-torn Aleppo city on Wednesday.
The report prepared by the UN Human Rights Council's Independent International Commission of Inquiry covers the crucial period between July 2016 and December 2016, when the fight for Syria's largest city was being waged.
Since beginning its work, the commission has produced four reports and four periodic updates, exposing human rights violations committed throughout Syria based on interviews with over 1400 witnesses and victims, according to the UN body.