Syrian opposition not invited to Vienna talks

Anti-Assad Syrian National Council and Syrian armed opposition have not been invited to Vienna peace talks

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

President of the Syrian National Coalition Khaled Khoja, right, is joined by Syrian National Coalition Special Representative to the US and the UN Najib Ghadbian as he speaks to reporters during a news conference, UN Headquarters on Sept. 30 2015

Syrian opposition's main political body and the representatives of the armed opposition on the ground have not been invited to the international talks in Vienna concerning their country, said an opposition politician and a rebel leader. 

George Sabra, a member of the Syrian National Coalition (SNC) told Reuters that the failure to invite Syrians showed a "lack of seriousness," and when asked whether the coalition had received an invite to be present in Vienna, he said: "That didn't happen."

"It is a big weak point in the meeting, because it will discuss the issues of the Syrians in their absence."

Vienna’s Syria peace talks will be two days long and begin on Thursday, the talks will include the US, Turkey, Iran, Russia, the Gulf states including Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Jordan, Egypt and EU’s Federica Mogherini.

When Iran accepted the invitation for the talks, the opposition expressed that they would still be present during the talks if invited, in spite of their reservation over the presence of Iran at the table.

Bashar al Zoubi of the Yarmouk Army, a group affiliated to the Free Syrian Army told Reuters that "Iran is part of the problem and not the solution, and its participation in the meeting will prove that to the world." He later added, "this meeting was accepted by Saudi Arabia and Turkey to expose Iran."

The SNC said that Iran's participation in the talks would undermine the political process. "Iran has only one project - to keep Assad in power... they don't believe in the principle of the talks," the coalition's Vice-President Hisham Marwa said on Thursday.

 Marwa later added that "what's important now is not to refuse talks, it is important to express our concern."

TRTWorld and agencies