While most of the focus on the Syrian peace talks scheduled for later this month has been what impact the growing acrimony between Iran and Saudi Arabia will have, it may ultimately be disagreements between Syrian factions that keep the process from going forward.
Syrian rebels today informed the UN special envoy trying to organize the talks that the Assad government has to comply with a series of demands, dubbed “confidence building steps,” before they will even agree to attend the meeting.
The demands are significant, including a unilateral release of rebel prisoners and a full halt to Syrian airstrikes on rebel territory, which is almost certainly a non-starter and will likely mean that the talks themselves are simply not going to happen.
This has been a recurring problem with international attempts to get a Syrian peace process going, as there have been virtually no cases where both the rebels and the government agreed to attend the same meeting, and with the US, Russia, and other organizers still arguing over what rebels they even intend to allow to attend, the chances are high the meeting could open with no opposition presence.
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