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.


Corbyn criticised over Syria air strike rejection

Turkey protests against journalist arrests

Turkey seeks to ease tensions with Moscow

Tunisia to rethink anti-IS strategy

Saudi women begin first-ever election campaign

Russia prepares retaliation against Turkey

Cameron pushes for Britain to join Syria air strikes

Erdogan denies buying oil from IS

Lavrov says no war with Turkey after 'planned provocation'

Tunisia under state of emergency

Missing Iranian diplomat found dead in Saudi

Heavy Russia raids at site of Syria plane crash

Tunisia declares state of emergency after terrorist attack in heart of capital

Bahrain calls HRW torture report 'misleading'

Syria, Russia foreign ministers set Moscow talks

Rival Libya tribes sign peace deal to end months of fighting

Turkey reveals new cabinet of Erdogan allies

Turkey downs Russia Su-24 fighter jet on Syria border

Hopes fade away as Sudan peace talks break without deal

At least 6 dead in Libya bomb attack

Somali pirates seize Iran fishing boat with 15 crew

ISIS suicide bombers kill four in assault on Sinai hotel

Kerry visits Israel with scant hopes for major breakthrough

Hollande heads to Washington to seek support for war on ISIS

Brussels extends terror alert as US issues worldwide travel warning

UAE blames Islamists for delay in military operation in Taez

Egypt kills 5 Sudanese migrants near border with Israel

Anti-Muslim hate crimes rise 300 percent in Britain

Russia eases restrictions on nuclear cooperation with Iran

Gulf leaders to hold annual summit on December 10

Ex-Gathafi Minister arrested over murder of UK policewoman

UK boosts military spending as pressure grows to join anti-ISIS strikes

Israel bars Palestinians from West Bank settlement bloc

Iraq suspends northern flights due to danger posed by Russia missiles

Syria army advances against ISIS in central province of Homs

Pro-Kurdish leader escapes assassination attempt in Turkey

Tunisia group claims beheading of young shepherd on behalf of ISIS

Kerry arrives in Abu Dhabi for Syria discussions

Three Palestinians killed as fresh violence hits West Bank

Iran arrests ISIS-linked cell near Iraq border

Brussels remains on high alert for second day in a row

Israel seeks to strip citizenship of those who join ISIS

France warns Libya as ISIS gains ground

Fear escalates as ISIS edges closer to Syria Christian town

Iran sentences reporter Jason Rezaian to prison