I hope you’re sitting down, because this is a real stunner:
The Syrian opposition said it will not attend peace talks due to begin in Geneva on Friday, derailing the first attempt in two years to hold negotiations aimed at ending the five-year-long war.
An opposition council convening in Riyadh said its delegation would “certainly” not be in Geneva on Friday, saying it had not received convincing answers to its demands for goodwill steps including an end to air strikes and blockades.
The failure to get talks off the ground on time reflects the challenges facing peace-making as the conflict rages unabated on the ground.
Challenges, really? You don’t say.
The rebels’ High Negotiations Committee is looking for an end to Bashar al-Assad’s sieges of places like Madaya, an end to Assad/Russian strikes on civilian population centers, and a release of rebels being held by Assad. Meanwhile, Assad is back to (slowly, and sporadically) regaining territory, so he really has no incentive to accommodate any of these demands.
The bottom line is this: there will not be any substantive talks on ending the Syrian civil war so long as the only parties that actually want to see the war end are Syrian civilians, the United States, and the EU. The forces that are actually doing the fighting need to want to end the war before they will, you know, end the war. We’re clearly not at that point yet.
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