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Syria's opposition hesitates on Geneva II amid rebel infighting

English.news.cn   2014-01-09 05:26:37            

DAMASCUS, Jan. 8 (Xinhua) -- Syria's main opposition group postponed deciding whether to participate in the Geneva II peace conference, as radical groups engage in bitter infighting besides their insurgency against the Syrian government.

The Syrian National Coalition, the opposition umbrella group based in Istanbul, will make its final decision on the conference on Jan. 17, only a few days ahead of its commencement, sources close to the coalition said.

The Syrian government, on the other hand, reiterated Tuesday its keenness to make the conference a success, stressing there should be no preconditions for any side to embark on negotiations toward peace.

While the Syrian government show a consistent stance, the coalition's factions are divided on the issue, especially after more than 40 of its members pulled out over internal disputes.

Several Islamist battalions have recently turned against the so- called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which has recently declared the establishment of an Islamic emirate in Iraq' s Fallujah province.

Observers believe that many rebel groups turned against the ISIL due to the large swathes of land it has claimed recently in northern Syria. Also, they want to burnish their image and show that they are "moderate" ahead of the Geneva IIconference.

Opposition activists said Wednesday that 20 ISIL rebels were killed during conflicts with other armed groups in the town of Hraitan, Aleppo, amid reports that the ISIL lost its command center in the northern city but reinforced its positions in al- Raqqa province.

Local reports said that 385 rebels have been killed since the eruption of their infighting last Friday, adding that the battles between the ISIL and other groups have also stretched to the countryside of Damascus.

Meanwhile, Haitham Mana'a, a moderate opposition leader, told the pan-Arab al-Mayadeen TV on Wednesday that there are no ideological difference between the ISIL and other armed groups in Syria, noting that the war among the rebel groups "will neither be easy nor end soon."

Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi said in a press conference Tuesday that all the rebel groups, regardless of their names and what is happening between them, are "terrorist groups."

"Terrorism is terrorism," he stressed, adding that his country will not negotiate with terrorists.

Around 30 nations are going to attend the Jan.-22 conference in the city of Montreux, Switzerland, and the actual negotiations between the government and the opposition are scheduled to start two days later in Geneva.

The Geneva II conference aims to bring delegations of the Syrian government and opposition to a negotiating table in order to end their conflict and launch a political transition process through the full implementation of the Geneva Communique produced on June 30, 2012.

Editor: yan
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