Finally in Geneva, Syrian Rebel Negotiators Threaten to Leave

Delegation Still Pushing Assorted Preconditions

After responding to their invitation with a series of demands, then refusing to attend, Syrian rebel negotiators finally showed up in Geneva, with an eye toward continuing to press those same demands, including the release of all rebel prisoners, and an end to all airstrikes against rebel territory.

Indeed, it’s still not clear if the rebel delegation is in Geneva to participate in the talks at all, and their first discussions with UN special envoy Staffan de Mistura have centered not around the peace process, but around their preconditions for participation.

That and their threats to leave. Though none of their preconditions for attending the talks were met, they still showed up, and are now insisting if those demands, which no one has agreed to, aren’t met awfully soon, they’ll be out the door.

There wasn’t much expectation that the Syrian peace talks were going to amount to much in the first place, as the UN had no intention of allowing the government and rebels to even be in the same room, and major factions like the Kurds were overtly forbidden from participating. Given that, it’s unclear why they wanted everyone in the same city to begin with, and having gotten at least a handful of delegates into that city, what it could possibly lead to.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.