Syrian opposition factions to convene in Riyadh

Syrian opposition factions announce that they will convene in the Saudi capital of Riyadh between December 8, 10

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

A man carries a girl as they rush away from a site hit by what activists said were air strikes by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al Assad in the Douma neighbourhood of Damascus, Syria August 24, 2015.

In an effort to unify Syrian opposition forces battling Bashar al Assad regime, and DAESH, a conference will be organized on Tuesday in Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh, according to a powerful rebel group that is invited to the meetings and spoke to Al Arabiya.

Islam Army is the rebel group that made the announcement late on Saturday, saying it “received an invitation to attend the Riyadh conference which has been decided to be held between (December) 8-10." The statement did not say whether the group planned to attend.

The group was formed by a merger of rebel factions in 2013 and is mainly based in the eastern Ghouta area near Damascus, it is led by Zahran Alloush, one of the most prominent figures of Syrian opposition.

Representatives of two other rebel groups confirmed they had received invitations for the meeting. The convention comes weeks before proposed international peace talks regarding Syria in New York.

Members of Syria's exiled political opposition have said the meeting would bring together at least 65 representatives of political and armed groups.

Monzer Akbik, a member of Syrian National Coalition (SNC), gave a similar date and said a delegation of 20 SNC members had been invited and are planning to take part in the talks.

The SNC is the main Western-backed political opposition, although it has only tenuous links with rebels on the ground and is seen as out of touch with the general population.

During the nearly five year conflict, the disunity amongst Syrian opposition factions have been one of the main reasons behind the failure to reach a long sought political solution in the war torn nation.

Saudi Arabia is a staunch critic of the Assad regime and a supporter of opposition groups seeking to topple him.

The conference will not include DAESH, which the United States and its allies are waging air strikes against in both Iraq and Syria. Al Qaeda affiliated Nusra front will not be included as well.

Although Riyadh has not given an official date for the meeting yet, some Saudi officials are rumoured to be scheduled to take part in the talks.



TRTWorld and agencies