MESOP NEWS “SYRIAN PEOPLE BURNING RUSSIAN FLAGS”: – Russia — We Are Working With Saudi Arabia Over Syrian Opposition

25 Nov 2017 – MESOP  – Lavrov’s comments were an endorsement of this week’s Riyadh meeting with both opposition groups and Russian-backed factions, as well as of a changing relationship with Saudi Arabia, which has been one of the main backers of the opposition and rebels throughout the 80-month Syrian conflict.Lavrov spoke after a meeting in Moscow with UN special Staffan de Mistura, ahead of a the renewal of UN-sponsored talks in Geneva next week.De Mistura said a new Syrian constitution will be one of the main items on the agenda in Geneva.

On Thursday, more than 140 participants elected 50 members to a reformed High Negotiations Committee, despite the reservations of many opposition representatives including officials of the original HNC, formed in Riyadh in December 2015.

The umbrella Syrian National Coalition and the HNC expressed concern that the gathering would retreat from the insistence on Bashar al-Assad’s departure and objected to the inclusion of the “Moscow group” and “Cairo group”, smaller factions favored by Russia. The head of the HNC, former Prime Minister Riad Hijab, and other senior members resigned.

However, the conference reached agreement as it maintained that a political transition “cannot happen without the departure of Bashar al Assad and his clique at the start of the interim period”. It also called for the full withdrawal of the Iranian-led foreign militias and Hezbollah, who have propped up the Assad regime’s military since 2012, and focused on the bombing of civilian areas, protracted sieges, and mass detentions of the regime.Lavrov made no reported comment on the future of Assad, who met Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday, or on the status of Iranian and Iranian-commanded foreign forces.

Civilians in southern Syria create a large human hashtag “We Do Not Trust Russia’s Intentions” and burn Russian flags: