First Published: 2013-05-30

 

Syria opposition to boycott Geneva summit: No talks in times of ‘invasion’

 

Main opposition group says it will not take part in peace talks as long as Iran-Hezbollah militias continue their invasion of Syria.

 

Middle East Online

‘Lives are more important than any political solution’

ISTANBUL - Syria's main opposition group said Thursday it will not take part in proposed US-Russia peace talks while key allies of President Bashar al-Assad's regime are waging war alongside government forces.

"The National Coalition will not take part in any international conference or any such efforts as long as the militias of Iran and Hezbollah continue their invasion of Syria," the opposition's acting chief George Sabra told reporters in Istanbul.

"Today, Syrians' lives are more important than any political solution or any international conference," Sabra added.

It has taken the divided opposition meeting in Istanbul a week to find common ground on the so-called Geneva 2 peace conference proposed by Moscow and Washington in hopes of ending more than two years of conflict estimated to have killed more than 94,000 people.

The group has previously said it was open in principle to any peace initiatives.

Sabra's comments follow Syrian army advances in areas where Lebanese Shiite militia group Hezbollah has joined troops loyal to Assad.

"In light of this savagery, any talk of an international conference or a political solution in Syria is just meaningless chatter," he said.

His statement came hours after the National Coalition launched an urgent appeal to rescue 1,000 wounded civilians from the town of Qusayr in central Syria.

Government troops and Hezbollah fighters have been battling for more than a week to retake Qusayr from rebel hands.

Rebel sources say the army has also made new advances east of Damascus in the past week, in a bid to crush the rebellion there.

Sabra said it was in the hands of the international community, "especially in the hands of (rebel backers) the Friends of Syria", to help stop an army advance on Qusayr and the Eastern Ghouta area near Damascus.

He called on the United Nations and the Arab League to "act immediately and seriously to stop... the continuous massacres".

"We cannot understand or accept that people are being killed in such a savage way while the international community is silent," Sabra added.

The Coalition's chief meanwhile reiterated a call to Lebanese President Michel Sleiman to stop Hezbollah from aiding Assad's troops.

"We remind the Lebanese president and the Lebanese people that a party with government and parliament representation is taking part in this ugly crime," said Sabra.

 

Iraq protesters quit Green Zone after unprecedented breach

Yemen government suspends 'direct' talks with rebels

Russia, US in bids to freeze fighting in Syria's Aleppo

Deadly car bomb hits Turkey refugee hub near Syria border

Tight security marks world rallies to celebrate Labour Day

Up to 100 people missing in two Mediterranean shipwrecks

Aden police chief survives new assassination attempt

ISIS claims rare deadly bombings in southern Iraq

Iraq PM calls for punishment of protesters involved in violence

Yemen government forces seize Qaeda training camp

Rouhani allies win second round of Iran parliament elections

War continues in Aleppo, with US-Russia agreement

Angry protesters storm Iraq Green Zone

UN council votes to bring back full Western Sahara mission

Air strike hits clinic in rebel-held Aleppo

US, Russia 'agree freeze' on two Syrian fronts

Aleppo mourns paediatrician killed in air strike

Libya unity government vows to end jihadist 'scourge'

Turkey demands 5 years jail for UK academic over 'terror propaganda'

UK pair accused of giving money to Brussels, Paris attacks suspect

Turkey says Bursa bomber linked to PKK

UN rights chief calls Syrian crisis 'shameful realpolitik'

Kuwait steps up deportations of expat workers

South Sudan unveils unity government

Iranians vote in second round of parliamentary elections

Palestinians support, Israel opposes French peace initiative

Biden in surprise Iraq visit to support embattled government

MSF condemns strike on Aleppo hospital

Lifeline to millions in Syria 'may be broken' as violence intensifies

Turkish journalists get two years for publishing Charlie Hebdo cartoon

Greece making 'incredible effort' to tackle migration issue

Iraq shuts Al-Jazeera bureau for 'instigating violence and sectarianism'

Syria regime readies for major Aleppo offensive

Israel nuclear reactor defects spark secrecy dilemma

Suicide bomber targets Aden police chief

Death toll in Syria's Aleppo rises despite UN truce plea

Italy to introduce migrant fingerprinting at sea

UN envoy plans to hold another round of Syria peace talks

US proposes full restoration of Western Sahara mission

27 Yemeni soldiers dead in key offensive

Global press freedom drops to lowest level in 12 years

Constitutional amendment grants Jordan king more powers

Suicide bomber blows herself up in Turkey northwestern city

Austria adopts one of EU's toughest asylum laws

Netherlands warns no safety 'guarantees' for visitors to Turkey