Syrian opposition says US backtracked over Syria

Syrian opposition says it is hard to decide whether to attend peace talks as US has softened its stance on Syrian issue

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Riad Hijab, who was chosen by Syrian opposition groups as coordinator of a negotiating body to lead future peace talks attends a news conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, December 18, 2015

The coordinator of Syrian opposition for negotiations, Riad Hijab criticised the United States on Tuesday for softening its stance concerning the Syrian conflict by pushing for the adoption of the Dec. 18 UN resolution despite it having “lots of gaps,” including the matter of the future of Syrian regime leader Bashar al Assad.

"There has been extremely clear backtracking from the United States," he said.

"The Russians and Americans did not cite Assad (during the negotiations) and did not talk about his departure and that is clear backtracking," he continued.

Hijab criticised the Obama administration for its opposition to the creation of a no-fly zone to protect Syrians which was dismissed by the US president who described such a solution as “counterproductive.”

He also criticised Obama's handling of Assad’s chemical arsenal.

"With the red lines on chemical weapons, he [Obama] took out the weapons, but not those who used them.”

The US signalled a possible military intervention after the Assad regime was proven to have used sarin gas and other chemical weapons.

However, Obama opted for an international deal with the help of Russia which requires the Syrian regime to give up its chemical weapons stockpile.

Hijab underlined that the softening in the US stance on the Syrian issue makes it difficult for the opposition to make a decision on whether to take place in peace talks set to be held on January 25 in Geneva.

Hijab said "We have a real problem. If we don't go to the negotiations they will say we don't respect the UN resolutions, but our people are being bombed and starved,” when it was asked whether the opposition would attend the peace talks or not.

"The choice is extremely difficult," he added.

The UN security council resolution was adopted on Dec. 18 which set out a two-year international roadmap for the peace process in Syria, where more than 250,000 people have been killed during the five-year conflict.

TRTWorld and agencies