With the rebels withdrawing from the Geneva peace talks and gearing up for the resumption of the Syrian Civil War, diplomats are desperately scrambling to try to keep the process going, and warning that if this round collapses, there won’t be another chance at serious talks for “at least a year.”
The rebel High Negotiation Committee (HNC), which represents only some rebels, pulled out citing anger over the Syrian offensive against al-Qaeda-held territory in Aleppo Province. Before that, there wasn’t much progress in the talks.
Russia was quick to criticize the HNC for pulling out, saying they’d come to the talks like they were a “eastern bazaar,” and had no real proposals to offer, only crude blackmail. The Russian Foreign Ministry accused them of having an “all or nothing” view to negotiations.
While everyone else is treating the HNC’s pullout as a major blow to the peace process, the Assad government appears upbeat, saying they believe the HNC was more an obstacle than anything, and that having them leave might allow negotiators to actually get something done.