[QODLink]
Middle East

Syrian opposition to boycott Geneva talks

Syrian National Coalition says it will not take part in planned summit until siege of Qusayr ends.

Last Modified: 30 May 2013 19:23
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback

Syria's opposition will not participate in proposed international peace talks in Geneva next month, its leader has said.

George Sabra, the head of the Syrian National Coalition (SNC), on Thursday said the opposition was suspending their participation until the international community intervened to end the siege in Qusayr, a town in Homs province near the Lebanese border.

"The National Coalition will not take part in any international conference or any such efforts so long as the militias of Iran and Hezbollah continue their invasion of Syria," Sabra told reporters in Istanbul.

Khaled Saleh, the SNC spokesperson, who addressed the news conference after Sabra, said civilians in the town had been "severely wounded" and Qusayr had been completely cut off by forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad.

"Civilians have no access to water, electricity and the massacre continues minute by minute while the Assad regime continues to use weapons" it receives from allies, he said.

He said the UN and Arab League should intervene to stop the killings that the Lebanese group "Hezbollah is responsible for". 

The planned peace talks in Geneva are being arranged by Russia - a Syria ally - and the United States. The SNC had said earlier it would take part only if a peace process that led to Bashar al-Assad stepping down is put in place.

Russian missile

SNC's announcement to boycott the talks came only hours after Assad said his country would respond to any Israeli attack on its soil.

In an interview to be aired on Thursday by Al-Manar TV station, owned by Hezbollah, Assad also said he had already received the first shipment of an advanced S-300 Russian missile system and would soon get the rest.

Gerald Steinburg, a professor of Political Studies at Bar-ilan University, told Al Jazeera that Israel was paying attention "closely" to what was happening in Syria.The comments were first published on Thursday by the Lebanese newspaper al-Akhbar  which got excerpts of the interview. 

"Syria has received the first shipment of Russian anti-aircraft S-300 rockets," al-Akhbar quoted Assad as saying. "The rest of the shipment will arrive soon."

Israel has suggested its military might strike the Russian S-300 missiles.

381

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
President Poroshenko arrives in Washington on Thursday with money and military aid on his mind, analysts say.
Early players in private medicine often focused on volume over quality, turning many Chinese off for-profit care.
Al Jazeera asked people across Scotland what they think about the prospect of splitting from the United Kingdom.
With social media dominating communication among young Americans, taunting is no longer confined to school hours.
Referendum on Scottish independence is the first major election in the UK where 16 and 17-year olds get a vote.
join our mailing list