27-11-2022 12:47 AM Jerusalem Timing

Riyadh Gathers Syrian Opposition Factions for Difficult Unity Talks

Riyadh Gathers Syrian Opposition Factions for Difficult Unity Talks

Syria’s splintered opposition is to gather in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday for a bid to unify ahead of potential peace talks with President Bashar al-Assad.

Saudi ArabiaSyria's splintered opposition is to gather in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday for a bid to unify ahead of potential peace talks with President Bashar al-Assad.

The Saudi-organized talks mark the first time representatives of Syria's various political factions and armed opposition groups gather together since the outbreak of the country's conflict in mid-2011.

The goal is to form a unified bloc formed of the groups funded and trained by regional countries, mainly the Saudi Arabia, for talks with President Assad that world powers hope can be held before January 1.

But divisions have already emerged over the reported participation of some groups, including Ahrar al-Sham, allied with Al-Qaeda's Syrian affiliate Al-Nusra Front.

However, certain terrorist armed groups, such as Al-Nusra Front and the so-called 'Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant' (ISIL) takfiri group, were not invited.

The powerful Saudi-backed Jaish al-Islam (Army of Islam) terrorist organization announced late Monday it would be sending two delegates to take part.

Kurdish groups, including the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces - a recently formed coalition of Kurdish, Arab, and Christian forces fighting ISIL - were not invited.

Kurdish groups including the leading Democratic Union Party (PYD) have organized their own two-day conference starting Tuesday.
   
Some 100 delegates are expected in Riyadh for this week's talks on forming an opposition bloc to negotiate with President Assad's convoy.

About 20 members of the Istanbul-based National Coalition are taking part in the meetings, which take place as leaders of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council converge on Riyadh for their annual summit on Wednesday.