Syrian Peace Talks Appear Dead as Rebels Boycott

Rebels Slam Russia for Continuing Airstrikes

After two relatively productive rounds of peace talks in Astana had many upbeat about the possibility of finally negotiating a settlement to the Syrian Civil War, the third round of talks began today and appear to be dead in the water, with no rebels in attendance.

The rebels argued they were “boycotting” the talks to protest Russia continuing to carry out airstrikes against targets inside Syria. The Syrian government sent a delegation and insists they’ll continue the talks, though at this point it appears to be just them, with Russian and Iranian officials.

At the time of the first round of talks, the negotiations with the rebels were significant, including large numbers of important rebel factions. After those talks started, however, al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front virtually wiped out several of the rebel factions involved, accusing them of conspiracy for being in the talks at all.

By the second round, what was left of the rebels at the talks was limited, but that they were still talking at all was noteworthy. With those rebels having scrapped their involvement, it does not appear the process has any future.

Last 5 posts by Jason Ditz

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.

  • Bianca

    The question is — who exactly did not come. Saudi Group that is trying to impose a spokesperson on all others — is part of the problem. There are opposition groups that are attending. As for fighters, now that Al-Nusra dominates the “rebels” and not one of them is able to speak for themselves — sure, Russian or any other bombing is a problem. But for as long as Al-Nusra dictates what they have to say — the cease fire no longer applies to them. The peace talks will soon be limited to political opposition, and there are three groups. One from Syria, one from Egypt and one from Moscow. The Saudi group does not seem to have anybody to represent. UK is insisting Al-Nusea under the newest name, having conquered others, is the only rebel group left. But with US not accepting the name change, and keeping the terrorist designation.

    As many Al-Nusra factions and affiliates are fighting in Idlib — what is even left of islamist rebels is in the state of flux. The political groups may have more luck on their own. And then, if any non-Al-Nusra is left — Saudi based High Negotiations Committee may have to search not just high, but also low — to find someone to represent.

    • Don

      Mark Thomason said it better Bianca, and with a lot fewer words. Maybe you should stick to supporting Trump, the great white hope!

  • Gary Sellars

    Good news. Now Syria and their allies can concentrate on exterminating these evil foat guckers…

  • Mark Thomason

    Talks are not dead in the water for lack of the rebels. Those rebels are just proxies for the powers that are attending. The big boys can settle this. The rebels will stop fighting when they get no more money, guns, ammo, and other support on which they are totally dependent.

    • Don

      Yeah, we know that Mark but it’s good to hear it spoken again by an American.

  • nhmakingwaves

    It’s like shell corporations, so no one is responsible. The rebels are unwilling to negotiate, not even the “High Negotiations Committee,” because they are committed to the violent overthrow of Syria’s government. They think this will work because they get massive amounts of arms from the Saudis. The Saudis with their oil wealth buy massive amounts of arms from the US. That is how, between US reliance on fossil fuels and willingness to sell advanced weapons to brutal regimes, the viability and strength of affiliates of Al Qaeda is maintained.

  • longlance

    Translation: USA resupplies and re-motivates Syrian terror-gangs.

  • ALEXANDRU Nemoianu

    The USA succeeded to have war.But will end with a bloody nose.

    • Don

      I doubt it. The US is determined to take Syria. Nothing outside of the US is going to stop it. It has to come from within.

      An unusual situation has developed in the US with Trump as their leader and that could cause some strange developments, although very risky. Maybe a US/Russia, China stand toe to toe is what is finally needed.

  • Don

    Sounds like Americans to the rescue, just in time.