Syrian regime releases two opposition figures

Syrian regime releases two opposition leaders after arresting them while they were making their way to Riyadh meeting

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.

Syrian regime have released two prominent members of the opposition who were arrested on Wednesday while on their way to the Saudi Arabian capital, Riyadh to meet other regime opponents, their party said.

Ahmad al Asrawi and Mounir al Bitar, members of the National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change (NCCDC), were the ones arrested and released at Syria's border with Lebanon, said the body's secretary general, Yahya Aziz.

Later on Facebook, the NCCDC announced "the release of our colleagues Ahmad al Asrawi and Mounir al Bitar," calling for "freedom for all prisoners and detainees."

Aziz told AFP that both Asrawi and Bitar were headed to Riyadh to join fellow members of the opposition's "supreme committee for negotiations," Aziz said Asrawi and Bitar were taken "to an unknown location."

"Those who want a political solution would not do this."

The "supreme committee" is a 33-member group formed in December at a landmark meeting of Syria's armed and political opposition also in Riyadh, the supreme committee will choose at least part of an opposition delegation for the long sought for January peace talks.

"The regime and its allies Russia and Iran are not serious about the political process, (because) they are targeting members of the Riyadh conference that are committed to a political solution," the NCCDC statement said.

The January peace talks will see the presence of key players in the region and in the Syrian conflict, including regime leader Bashar al Assad, Iran, Russia and the US.

The abrupt arrests come less than a week after Zahran Alloush’s assassination by the Syrian regime backed by Russian air strikes. Alloush was one of the most prominent Syrian opposition figures, and the leader of Islam Army.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al Jubeir commented on Alloush’s death on Tuesday, saying the killing did "not serve the peace process and (efforts) to achieve a political solution in Syria."

TRTWorld and agencies