Syrian activists have launched an online campaign, #DontgotoGeneva, calling on the Syrian opposition to boycott peace talks expected to start in Geneva on Friday.
Some activists have accused Syrian opposition members invited to the talks of looking out for their own benefits and ignoring the Syrian people’s demands.
“Geneva 1, Geneva 2, Riyadh 1 and I don’t know what … all these talks are lies,” an activist in the Syrian city of Aleppo, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Al Jazeera.
“Here in Syria, we know that nothing will change during or after these talks. The opposition only wants an external political victory. Otherwise, if they represent the Syrian people – why are they abroad?”
The United Nations special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, sent out the invitations on Tuesday to the Syrian participants of the Geneva talks, which are expected to last for six months.
The talks come after a set of meetings between the international community and regional players.
The opposition’s High Negotiations Committee (HNC), which was formed in Riyadh last month, said it would decide on Thursday whether to take part.
The committee said it is waiting for a response from the UN to a set of requests and if their conditions are not met, the group will not attend the talks.
The Syrian government has already said it will attend.
Online activists sharing their opinions on Twitter and Facebook have criticised the talks and called them useless.
This post by one activist says: “Do not go to Geneva. We did not sacrifice all this blood and half a million martyrs to share the government with a criminal gang and their fake opposition.”
Below, one man asks another: “What do you think of Geneva 3?” The other man answers him saying: “Is there bread?”
The next post says “don’t go to Geneva because people are being killed by air strikes, barrel bombs and hunger. Don’t give legitimacy to [President] Assad to continue killing us and don’t allow his thugs to control you behind closed doors.”
#لا_تذهبوا_إلى_جنيف فالناس تقتل بالطائرات والبراميل والجوع لا تعطوا الشرعية للأسد ليواصل قتلنا وليشبح عليكم زبانيته خلف الأبواب المغلقة
— Abdullah Hatem🗽 (@Abdullah_Hatem) January 26, 2016
The following post says the name #DontgotoGeneva was given by activists in protest at Russia’s conditions and the change of course for negotiations, including changing the conditions for a transitional government and allowing “government supporters of the Kurdish units of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party to be named as opposition”.
One of the most influential Kurdish groups, the PYD, has not been invited to the talks. Russia had insisted that the group’s participation was necessary, but Turkey threatened to pull out if the PYD was there, saying the group is linked to what it calls “terrorism”.
The post below asks: “How many Geneva talks till now? How many Geneva talks do we wait for? And what is the outcome of all Geneva talks?” The picture is of a laundry detergent and the label translates to: “Geneva, gives politicians incredible whiteness.”
With reporting by Diana Al Rifai. Follow her on Twitter @D_R_23