In a surprisingly simple process, a major Syrian rebel faction, the High Negotiations Committee (HNC), has announced today that it will be attending next week’s peace talks in Geneva, though they did predict failure and insisted it would be the Syrian military’s fault.
The HNC’s agreement stands in sharp distinction to the last round of talks, during which they repeatedly refused to attend, issued a litany of preconditions, then showed up a couple days into the process to announce that they weren’t going to attend.
With them and the Syrian government on board, some negotiations might actually take place this time. Another rebel figure, Haytham Manna, announced he was boycotting the talks because the Kurdish YPG had been blocked from them. Russian officials called to allow the Kurds, but Turkey has refused to allow any Kurdish factions at the negotiations.
It is so far unclear if any other factions beyond the HNC will attend, or indeed which have been invited. As usual, ISIS and al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front will not be invited, and so far the Kurds are similarly unwelcome.