Iran Says Mid-January Talks Have No Preconditions, But Will Rebels Participate?
Details are still to be worked out on the upcoming Syrian peace talks, to be held in Kazakhstan. The talks are to happen some time in mid-January, and there will be no preconditions for anyone’s participation, but talks trying to iron out the last details are on hold.
That’s because while the ceasefire is mostly holding, ongoing disputes over whether or not the Nusra Front are a party to the ceasefire continue to rile the rebels, and rebel groups have withdrawn from participation in the talks on setting up the peace talks.
Similar problems have afflicted previous attempts to put together peace talks in Syria, and getting the rebels to even agree to attend usually takes protracted back-door negotiations, meaning once again that the talks are looming with a very real possibility that the rebels aren’t going to attend.
The rebels are citing the ongoing military attacks on the Nusra Front, claiming they are “violations,” and that they won’t talk if the ceasefire isn’t in place. This disagreement stems from the wording of the ceasefire excluding UN-recognized terror groups. Though Nusra is a recognized terror group, they rebranded themselves under a new name over the summer, and the rebels argue that that makes them a different group.
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