Western officials have been trying to downplay the lack of rebel support for the Geneva II peace conference as them being “undecided,” but yet another rebel leader’s comments today underscore how broad rebel opposition to the talks really is.
Ahmad al-Sheikh, the leader of the influential Suqur al-Sham Brigade, issued a statement on behalf of 19 Islamist rebel factions dubbing the talks a “conspiracy” designed to end their war of revolution.
The statement went on to declare attending the talks as tantamount to “treason,” and warned that any rebels caught attending “would have to answer for it before our courts.”
The Geneva II conference was supposed to be held in June, and is now tentatively scheduled for late November. Though the Assad government has promised to attend, not a single rebel faction has done so, and many have openly ruled it out. Today’s overt threats against any participants are likely the death knell for the peace process, and will mean the talks will just amount to what Geneva I did, the US and Russia trading blame for the war not being over already.