Syria opp. urges US to pressure Russia

High Negotiations Committee says 'balance needs to change' ahead of fresh Syrian peace talks

Syria opp. urges US to pressure Russia

World Bulletin / News Desk

Syria's main opposition grouping warned on Thursday that for a future round of UN-brokered peace talks to succeed, the United States must pressure allies of the embattled regime.

Munzer Makhous from the High Negotiations Committee (HNC) said the US must help create "a balance" between the opposing delegations to avoid failure in a fresh round of talks.

On Wednesday, UN special envoy Staffan de Mistura announced a "temporary pause" of the troubled talks until February 25, saying "there is more work to be done, not only by us but by the stakeholders." 

Makhous said the pause was "the right decision."

"There needs to be pressure from the Americans on the Russians," he said in Geneva, hours before the HNC delegation was due to leave the Swiss city.

"The balance needs to change, at least so it can be equal between the government and the opposition so each side can then make compromises," he added.

Longtime regime ally Moscow stepped up its support of government forces in September by launching an air war against opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. 

Those aerial strikes appeared to reach a fever pitch in recent days in the northern Syrian province of Aleppo, despite the HNC calling for an end to bombardment ahead of peace talks. 

The HNC had also demanded that the government release thousands of prisoners -- including women and children -- and lift devastating sieges on hunger-stricken towns.

"Of course we won't come if we don't see anything (from the humanitarian steps) on the ground," Makhous said. 

Syria's war has killed more than 260,000 people and forced millions to flee their homes.

The UN-brokered talks are the latest and most broad-based attempt at ending the devastating war, but they faltered this week with both the opposition and government delegation blaming each other. 

Syria's government representatives in Geneva for the talks left Switzerland on Thursday morning, a source close to its delegation said.

Last Mod: 04 Şubat 2016, 15:28
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