Syrian Opposition Condemns Leader for Talking With Russia, Iran

Russians Hope Meeting a Step Toward Peace Talks

by Jason Ditz, February 03, 2013

Syrian National Coalition (SNC) leader Moaz Alkhatib’s meetings with Russian and Iranian officials in Germany recently have caused a major stir, with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov expressing hope it could lead to peace talks, and other officials within the rebellion condemning his decision to talk at all.

Peace talks aren’t exactly the rebellion’s strong suit, and with many of its figures seeing negotiation as unacceptable on general principle, Alkhatib is facing harsh questioning about his meetings.

Beyond them not being keen on peace talks themselves, rebel figures also fear that Russia and Iran will use the meeting as evidence that negotiation is possible, and might therefore undermine rebel pushes for an international invasion to install them as the new government.

Western officials, particularly those in the US, are also likely to be angry that Alkhatib met with Iranian officials, since they have repeatedly said Iran can never have any role in the settlement of the Syrian civil war.

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