‘Unity Talks’ Widen Rift Among Syrian Rebels

Some Factions Blast Cairo Meet as 'Conspiracy'

A high profile meeting in Cairo was intended to bring Syria’s myriad opposition and rebel groups under a unified leadership to govern the country during a “transitional” phase following their ouster of the current regime. Instead, the meeting is reflecting and even widening the rifts that exist among the groups.

No agreement was made among the 250 participants in the conference, as the various groups couldn’t agree on whether or not to impose a Sunni theocracy on the nation or whether to back a foreign occupation.

Some factions within the Free Syrian Army (FSA), which was itself spearheading the conference, refused to take part, with Col. Saadeddine, a top FSA spokesman saying it played into Russia’s hand, while others said it was a “conspiracy.”

The inability of the rebels to reach any consensus will further complicate the Geneva Action Group for Syria’s plan, which rested on the assumption of two-party talks between rebels and regime and an unconditional ceasefire. Some rebel blocks have expressed support for this idea, while others have condemned the idea of negotiations on general principle.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.