Syrian regime, opposition end talks without breakthrough

UN envoy Staffan de Mistura looks on before the start of talks on Syria in Vienna on Thursday

After two days of talks in Vienna with the United Nations special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, the Syrian opposition High Negotiations Committee (HNC) said it would not be attending peace talks being held in Russian Federation next week.

A spokesman for the opposition delegation, Yahya al-Aridi said at the Vienna talks that it is quite clear that somebody is obstructing the whole process and wants to sideline importance of Geneva political process.

The main opposition group, the Syrian Negotiations Commission (SNC), said it would sit down for separate talks with the envoy.

The announcement came after the USA said it will work, along with a coalition of its allies purportedly fighting the Daesh terrorist group, with US-backed militants of the the YPG-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to set up a new 30,000-strong "border security" force.

The opposition is deliberating whether to participate in the national dialogue conference in Sochi, Russia.

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"This is a representative figure, these participants of the Congress will represent all layers of Syrian society, those who support the government, those who are neutral....so the forum will be very representative", the source said. Described by the United Nations as an " epicentre of suffering", the fate of eastern Ghouta remains a major cause of global concern.

During his two-day stay in Damascus, Mr. Jaberi Ansari is slated to meet with a number of Syrian officials, politicians, and figures to discuss the recent development in the war-torn country and contribute to the settlement of the 7 year long conflict.

The opposition will decide in the next two days whether to attend Sochi, its chief negotiator Nasr Hariri, said on Wednesday.

"In general we welcome any proposals which lead to the implementation of the [UNSC] resolution 2254".

The special envoy first talked with the government delegation led by Bashar al-Ja'afarii at 11:30 for hours before the opposition delegation arrived. He says he has taken note of the statement by the Russian Federation that the outcome of the congress would be presented as a contribution to the United Nations -brokered intra-Syrian talks in Geneva. According to Jaafari, it undermines the Geneva process and Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Sochi.

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