MESOP Syria Daily: Lead Opposition-Rebel Negotiator Alloush Quits

The lead negotiator of Syria’s opposition-rebel bloc said on Sunday that he is quitting over the failure of UN-brokered political talks in Geneva.

Mohammad Alloush, a senior official of the rebel faction Jaish al-Islam, said: The peace talks failed to stop the bloodshed of our people, failed to secure the release of thousands of detainees or to push Syria towards a political transition without [President] al-Assad and his criminal gang.The International Community need to put serious pressure on Russia and Assad to stop the killing of our people.

The “last nail in the coffin”, according to a source, was the UN’s retreat from a commitment to airdrop aid by June 1 to besieged areas.Brokered by the UN after an effort led by Russian and the US, the talks reconvened in Geneva in late January. with three sets of discussions up to mid-April. However, the talks failed to bring direct contact between the opposition-rebel High Negotiations Committee and a regime delegation.The HNC warned that it would suspend discussions if bombing continued and sieges were not lifted, but the Assad regime continued airstrikes and tightened blockades in April.

In late March, Assad rejected any consideration of a transitional governing authority, the central element of international proposals since 2012.Last week, UN envoy Staffan de Mistura delayed an announcement of the resumption of talks, saying he did not expect them for two or three weeks.De Mistura also pulled back from the commitment, backed by the International Syria Support Group, to begin the aerial provision of aid: “For airdrops to become concrete either by delivery at high altitude or by helicopters, there is a need for the cooperation of the government of Syria.”

The Russian Foreign Ministry said that Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and John Kerry discussed the situation by phone on Sunday. It did not refer to the political talks, but declared:Sergei Lavrov once again stressed the necessity of the soonest closure of Syria’s border with Turkey from where infiltration of militants continue and of Washington’s keeping its promise to dissociate Syrian opposition groups with whom it has contacts from Jabha al-Nusra terrorists, who are not covered by the ceasefire.

Without noting the Assad regime’s continued bombing and sieges, the Ministry said, “The sides agreed to invigorate work with all of the Syrian parties and with all the countries concerned to have them obey by the resolutions of the International Syria Support Group and United Nations Security Council resolutions 2254 and 2268.”