Syria's War | Al Jazeera America

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Syria's War

Breaking news coverage of developments in Syria's War and the broader regional conflict, including allegations of the deadly use of chemical weapons and the international community's response

  • Syria's Information Minister said on Wednesday that President Bashar al-Assad will not step down, as demanded by some of the international powers seeking to end the country's protracted conflict.

    "Assad isn't going," Omaran Zoabi told journalists on the sidelines of U.N.-sponsored face-to-face peace talks in the Swiss resort of Montreux.
  • #SecKerry at Intl Conf on Syria - start of important process, bringing both sides to the table w goal of implementing Geneva I
  • Syrian peace talks began Wednesday in Switzerland with a bitter clash over President Bashar Assad's future.

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Assad's decision to meet peaceful dissent with brutal force had robbed him of all legitimacy while Assad's foreign minister declared that no one outside Syria had the right to remove the government. The Syrian opposition said the whole point of the peace conference was to create a transitional government without Assad.

    Less than three hours into peace talks that have been on the verge of collapse since they were first floated, the two sides seemed impossibly far apart.

    "We really need to deal with reality," Kerry said. "There is no way — no way possible in the imagination — that the man who has led the brutal response to his own people could regain the legitimacy to govern. One man and those who have supported him can no longer hold an entire nation and a region hostage."

    "The right to lead a country does not come from torture, nor barrel bombs, nor Scud missiles. It comes from the consent of the people," he added.

    Kerry was followed by Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem, who refused to give up the podium despite repeated requests from the U.N. secretary-general.

    "You live in New York. I live in Syria," he angrily told Ban Ki-moon. "I have the right to give the Syrian version here in this forum. After three years of suffering, this is my right."

    Al-Moallem said no one except Syrians could remove Assad. He also accused the West and neighboring countries — notably Saudi Arabia, which he did not name — of funneling money, weapons and foreign fighters to the rebellion.

    "The West claims to fight terrorism publically while they feed it secretly," he said. "Syrians here in this hall participated in all what has happened, they implemented, facilitated the bloodshed and all at the expense of the Syrian people they claim to represent."

    At least 100,000 people — and activists claim tens of thousands more — have been killing in the fighting that began with a peaceful uprising in March 2011 against Assad's rule. The fighting has forced millions of Syrians to flee their homes.

    The question of Assad's future goes to the heart of the peace conference with the stated goal of a transitional government for Syria. Notably absent was Iran, which along with Russia has been Assad's most forceful supporter.

    Ban invited, then disinvited Iran at the last minute, after the Syrian opposition threatened to back out of the peace talks less than 48 hours before their scheduled start.

    Amhad al-Jarba, the head of Syria's Western-backed Syrian National Coalition, said Wednesday that any discussion of Assad's continued hold on power would effectively end the talks before they have begun in earnest.

    Al-Jarba said a transitional government "is the only topic for us."

    [The Associated Press]
  • The State Department has released Secretary of State John Kerry's remarks from this morning's session at Geneva 2.

    Kerry used his remarks to reiterated America's belief that Pres. Assad has no place in a transitional government: 

    Now, we need to deal with reality here. We really need to deal with reality. Mutual consent, which is what has brought us here, for a transition government means that that government cannot be formed with someone that is objected to by one side or the other. That means that Bashar Assad will not be part of that transition government. There is no way – no way possible in the imagination – that the man who has led the brutal response to his own people could regain the legitimacy to govern. One man and those who have supported him can no longer hold an entire nation and a region hostage. The right to lead a country does not come from torture, nor barrel bombs, nor Scud missiles. It comes from the consent of the people. And it’s hard to imagine how that consent could be forthcoming at this point in time.

    So just as there could be no place for the perpetrator of this violence, there could also be no place for the thousands of violent extremists who spread their hateful ideology and worsen the suffering of the Syrian people. And as we hear talk about terrorism today, make no mistake: It is the presence of the current intransigence within the existing government that makes this problem worse. That is creating a magnet for terrorists. And until a transition takes place, there is no prayer of reducing the increase of terrorism.

    There is another way forward. We all know it. It is what this conference is organized around. It is the Geneva communique, which has the support of the international community as a peaceful roadmap for transition. And the only thing standing in its way is the stubborn clinging to power of one man, one family. I believe the alternative vision of the Syrian people is one that can gather the respect and support of people all around the world. It is a place that doesn’t force people to flee or live in fear, a Syria that protects the rights of every group. We have not only an opportunity, but we have an obligation to find a way forward so that the people of Syria can choose their leadership, know peace, and for 9 million refugees, finally be able to return home in dignity.

    My final comment is this: There are, in this room, all of the players who have the ability, with the exception of one or two, to have an impact on the choices that are made here. People who are supporting different groups are here. These people have the ability to affect the outcome. And if we put our common energies together, we can forge a resolution that can provide peace to the region and peace to the people of Syria. And I hope we will succeed.

    Click here for Kerry's full remarks
  • Analysis: Why Syria's Assad heads to Geneva from a position of strength

    As representatives of Syria's Assad regime and some of its opponents sit down Wednesday for their first direct negotiations since the rebellion began three years ago, the grim reality facing the Syrian opposition is this: President Bashar al-Assad comes to the negotiating table in Switzerland apparently stronger today than at any time in the last two years. Thus his cavalier tone ahead of the talks, dismissing opposition representatives as a “joke” and brushing off Secretary of State John Kerry’s and the opposition’s demand that he relinquish power and accept a “transitional governing body.” Instead, Assad maintains, Syria will hold elections this year, and "I see no reason why I shouldn't stand."

    Understanding why Assad's regime survives more than two years after then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called it a "dead man walking" is critical for gauging the outcome of the Geneva II talks.

    The regime's resilience is based, first and foremost, on the Syrian Army. Without its loyalty, Assad would likely have fallen as quickly as did Tunisia's President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak in 2011. But while many soldiers and officers did join the rebellion, most did so as individuals; few entire units defected and no entire divisions did. Structurally, the military held together, and it was able to replenish its ranks through intensive recruitment among the Alawite minority, where many are loyal to the regime and still more live in mortal fear of sectarian retribution at the hands of the Sunni-led armed rebellion. The same factors allowed the military to expand its capabilities through the paramilitary Popular Committees, often called shabiha. And it has also been able to enlist the support in critical battles of units of the Shia Hezbollah militia from neighboring Lebanon, whose leaders recognize that their own military fortunes depend on maintaining the re-supply lines that the Assad regime has long provided.

    Read more at Al Jazeera America
  • The United States is criticizing Syria's top diplomat for his "inflammatory" speech at an international peace conference aimed at ending the country's brutal conflict.

    The State Department said Wednesday that remarks from Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem were not in keeping with the spirit or aims of the gathering, which is intended to begin the process of forming a transitional government. Spokeswoman Jen Psaki said that instead of laying out a "positive vision" for Syria's future, al-Moallem chose "inflammatory rhetoric."

    In his speech, al-Moallem accused the West and neighboring countries of funneling money, weapons and foreign fighters to the rebellion.

    U.N. chief Ban Ki-Moon also lamented that al-Moallem had used his speech to attack other participants at the conference.

    [The Associated Press]
  • Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said on Wednesday that there can be no role in Syria's transition for President Bashar al-Assad and those whose hands are "stained in blood".

    In a speech to an international conference on Syria, Prince Saud called for the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Syria, including Lebanese Hezbollah fighters and Iranian Revolutionary Guards who are backing Damascus against rebel forces.

    The United Nations conference must not lose sight of the goal of a political transition in Syria, he said, adding: "The time is right not to let down the Syrian people again."


  • The United Nations has released the full text of Ban Ki-moon's opening speech. The United Nations Secretary-General called the opening day of Geneva 2 'a day of fragile but real hope.'

    Ban used the opening of his speech to chastise the Syrian government (emphasis ours): 

    For the first time, the Syrian Government and the Syria opposition, countries of the region, and the wider international community are convening to seek a political solution to the death, destruction and displacement that is the dire reality of life in Syria today. 

    All Syrians, and all in the region affected by this crisis, are looking to you gathered here to end the unspeakable human suffering, to save Syria’s rich societal mosaic, and to embark on a meaningful political process to achieve a Syrian-led transition – a vision first put forth a year and a half ago in the Geneva Communique, and endorsed by the United Nations Security Council. 

    You, the delegates from the Syrian government and opposition, are here for this purpose. 

    You have an enormous opportunity and responsibility to render historic service to the Syrian people. 

    It is the most profound of tragedies that peaceful protests in Syria – calling for change – turned into a bloody civil war.  

    If the Government leaders had listened more attentively and humbly to the concerns expressed by the people, this conference might not have been necessary.

    The disaster is now all-encompassing.

    However, Ban did say those involved needed to recognized 'that most of the deaths and destruction in Syria come from conventional weapons, which flow in abundance to all the warring sides from many quarters.'

    He also called for all Syrians, men and women, to be involved in the country's future. 

    Click here to read his full remarks. 
  • United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon met with the Syrian opposition delegation in Montreux Tuesday before Geneva 2 officially convenes, according to the UN.

    From the UN:

    The Secretary-General met today with Ahmad Al Assi Jarba, head of the Syrian opposition delegation and President of the National Coalition of Syrian and Revolution Forces, along with other members of the official opposition delegation in Montreux.

    The Secretary-General welcomed the Syrian opposition delegation to the launch of the High-Level Segment of the Geneva Conference on Syria on 22 January. They discussed the intra-Syrian talks starting on 24 January in Geneva and facilitated by Joint Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi, aimed at ending the violence in Syria and achieving a comprehensive agreement for a political settlement, implementing fully the Geneva Communiqué.

  • The United States says reports of mass killings in Syria suggest widespread and systematic violations by the regime, Reuters reported Tuesday, citing the State Department
  • The Syrian government delegation has just arrived to the airport in Geneva.
  • According to the Kremlin's website, Russia's Putin and President Obama spoke on the phone about the upcoming Syrian peace conference in Montreux, Reuters reported Tuesday afternoon.
  • Haitham al-Maleh, a member of the opposition delegation, has commented on a report published by Al Jazeera English that states the regime will use Geneva 2 to push for support in its 'fight against terrorism.'

    From Al Jazeera English: 

    "If they want to fight terrorism they should fight themselves. The criminal regime is the one who killed more than 100,000 civilians and destroyed houses. The regime forces are the ones who possess tanks, fighter jets and barrel bombs," he told Al Jazeera from Geneva. 

  • #Greece & #Syria say denying regime delegation's jet fuel "mistake" because #Athens airport thought violates European sanctions on #Assad
  • #Greece & #Syria say private jet carrying regime delegation has left #Athens after getting fuel, on its way to #Geneva2 after 4+ hrs wait
  • While United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has already arrived in Montreux for the Syrian peace conference, @UNGeneva tweeted a picture of him and Michael Møller — the acting director-general of the UN Office at Geneva — en route to Geneva 2.

  • The Syrian National Coalition's public relations office has released the names of the coalition's delegates to Geneva 2:

    Ahmad Al-Jarba
    Badr Jamous
    Noura Al-Amir
    Abdul Hakim Bashar
    Haitham Al-Maleh
    Michel Kilo
    Hadi Al-Bahra
    Suheir Atassi
    Abdul Hamid Darwish
    Nazeer Hakim

    And Louay Safi will serve as spokesman for the delegation.

  • According to Al Jazeera English, the Syrian regime delegation will focus on its 'fight against terrorism' at Geneva 2. 

    From Al Jazeera English: 

    The Syrian government will demand support from the international community for its "fight against terrorism" during upcoming peace talks, sources in Damascus told Al Jazeera.

    Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem, in a speech he is scheduled to give during the peace conference in Switzerland, will also pledge to end the suffering of the Syrian people by agreeing to humanitarian corridors in besieged areas and to a ceasefire in Aleppo, the sources said.

    Talks between representatives of the government of President Bashar al-Assad and the Western-backed opposition will begin on Wednesday. It is the first time the warring parties will enter into direct negotiations since the conflict in Syria began almost three years ago.

    The government's 15-member delegation, headed by Muallem, is not authorised to agree on any deal without referring back to Assad, the foreign minister will say during the so-called Geneva II conference.

    The foreign minister will also emphasise that any future negotiations will have to be held within the Syrian territories, and that the government will not accept to set a timeframe for the negotiations. 

  • An airplane carrying the Syrian government delegation to Geneva 2 was delayed in Athens Tuesday when it was denied refueling at the city's airport, Reuters reported Tuesday morning. 

    However, EnetEnglish, the Greek Independent Press, has reported the government plane is set for take off from the Athens airport. 

    From EnetEnglish: 

    An aircraft carrying the Syrian government delegation to peace talks in Switzerland is set to continue its journey after it was delayed at Athens airport because the authorities refused to refuel the plane due to the international embargo against the Assad regime.

    Syrian state television on Tuesday said the plane was "prevented from refuelling" after it had obtained permission to pass through the relevant airspace and land at Athens for refuelling.

    "The matter has been settled. There was a slight delay on procedural grounds," a foreign ministry spokesman, Konstantinos Koutras, told Reuters, without providing a reason why the plane was delayed. 

    He added that the plane was ready to continue its journey.

    Al Jazeera America cannot independently confirm EnetEnglish's report.
  • As news broke the Syrian regime's delegation to Geneva 2 is stuck in Athens, Reuters is reporting the peace talks — scheduled to begin Wednesday — are in disarray before they even start. 

    From Reuters:

    Syria peace talks were in disarray on Tuesday before they began, buffeted by a botched U.N. invitation to Iran, an explosion in Beirut and new evidence that appears to show Bashar al-Assad's government has tortured and killed thousands.

    U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's unexpected, last-minute decision on Sunday to invite President Assad's main foreign backer Iran - only to withdraw the invitation a day later - proved a diplomatic fiasco, undermining talks that are already given little chance of success.

    War crimes lawyers said photographs apparently smuggled out of Syria by a military police photographer were clear evidence Assad's government has systematically tortured and killed some 11,000 detainees. One of three former international war crimes prosecutors who signed the report compared the images from Syria to the "industrial-scale killing" of Nazi death camps.

    A suicide bomber killed four people in Beirut, capital of Lebanon, showing the urgent danger of sectarian violence spilling to Syria's neighbours, three years into a civil war that has already killed at least 130,000 people inside Syria.

    The peace conference set to begin on Wednesday will include the first talks between Assad and his opponents. But hopes of a breakthrough are negligible at a time when fighting has escalated and neither side shows any sign of retreating from its demands or being able to end the war with a victory.

  • #Syria regime says its #Geneva2 delegation is now delayed 3 hours from its scheduled arrival in Montreux #Switzerland
  • Plane of #Syria regime delegation heading to #Geneva2 stops in #Athens airport & denied refueling #Greece
  • Syrian state television says a plane carrying a delegation to this week's peace talks landed at the airport in Athens and was 'prevented from refueling,' Reuters reported Tuesday morning.
  • The U.N. chief's decision to rescind the invitation to Iran to join this week's Syria peace talks was a mistake but not a catastrophe, Russia's foreign minister said Tuesday.

    Sergey Lavrov said that Ban Ki-moon's decision to withdraw his last-minute offer to Iran to attend the conference set to begin Wednesday in the Swiss resort of Montreux would have a negative impact on the United Nations image.

    The invitation to Iran extended by Ban on Sunday put the talks in jeopardy, with the U.S. pushing for rescinding the offer and the Syrian opposition threatening to skip the event entirely.

    "This story hasn't helped strengthen the U.N. authority," Lavrov said at a news conference, adding that recalling the offer looked "unseemly."

    The controversy over Iran's participation in the talks reflected deep differences over Syria between the United States and Russia, which has been a key ally of Syria, shielding Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime from the United Nations sanctions and continuing to supply it with weapons throughout the civil war that has killed more than 130,000.

    He reaffirmed Russia's stance that the presence of Iran was essential for the success of the talks.

    Iran has been Assad's main regional ally, supporting his regime with advisers, money and materiel since the uprising began in 2011.

    Lavrov warned that spurning Iran would deepen division lines in the Islamic world and would have a negative impact on global efforts to fight terrorism.

    "The absence of Iran isn't going to help strengthen the unity of the world's Muslims," he said.

    Lavrov insisted that Russia is not supplying Syria with any weapons that are "banned (by international agreements) and could destabilize the situation in the region."

    At the same time, Lavrov voiced hope for the success of the talks that would put the government and the opposition at the same table for the first time since the start of the conflict three years ago.

    "There is no catastrophe. We will push for a direct dialogue between the Syrian parties without any preconditions," he said.

    [The Associated Press]
  • UN rescinds Iran’s invitation to Syria talks after anti-Geneva statement

    The U.N. secretary-general has withdrawn his invitation to Iran to join this week's Syria peace talks, saying he is "deeply disappointed" by Iran's statements about accepting the basic preconditions of the talks.

    Ban Ki-moon announced the withdrawal of the invitation to Syria's closest regional ally less than 24 hours after issuing it, following objections by the U.S. and others.

    The withdrawn invitation came shortly after Iran's U.N. ambassador declared that the Islamic Republic wouldn't join the Syria talks if required to accept the 2012 Geneva roadmap.

    A spokesman for Ban, Martin Nesirky, said senior Iranian officials had assured the secretary-general that Iran understood the terms of his invitation.

    Nesirky told reporters that Ban "is dismayed" at the developments.

    Nesirky said Iran, despite assurances, "has made a disappointing public statement" that suggests it doesn't accept the terms of this week's peace talks in Switzerland.

    Read more at Al Jazeera America
  • New evidence of 'industrial-scale' killing by Assad regime surfaces

    A team of war crimes prosecutors and forensic experts has examined and confirmed a huge stash of evidence smuggled out of Syria that implicate Syrian government officials in the systematic killing of 11,000 detainees, according to a joint report from CNN and The Guardian released just two days before peace talks aimed at ending Syria's civil war are slated to begin.

    Working with a photographer for the military police who had secretly defected to the opposition, the team was given thousands of photos of dead bodies belonging to alleged detainees killed in Syrian government custody.

    The photographs show emaciated bodies marked with signs of brutal beatings, strangulation and other forms of torture, the team confirmed.

    "This is a smoking gun," David Crane, one of the report's authors, told CNN. "Any prosecutor would like this kind of evidence — the photos and the process. This is direct evidence of the regime's killing machine."

    The report also details a complex numbering system used to catalog the corpses such that security services could keep track of those killed and fake their documentation to make it appear that the individual had died in a hospital.

    Read more at Al Jazeera America
  • A new report obtained by the Guardian purports to contain evidence detailing the 'industrial-scale killings' of 11,000 detainees imprisoned by the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria.

    The 31-page report, which was commissioned by leading firm Carter-Ruck on behalf of the government of Qatar, is being made available to the UN, governments and human rights groups.

    Guardian's Ian Black notes that the report's publication appears "deliberately timed to coincide with this week's UN-organized Geneva II peace conference, which is designed to negotiate a way out of the Syrian crisis by creating a transitional into the credibility of certain evidence with regard to torture and execution of persons incarcerated by the current Syrian regime."

    Read the full report below:

    Carter-Ruck report on executions and torture in Syria

  • Syria's main opposition body, the National Coalition, will not attend peace talks in Switzerland scheduled for this week unless the United Nations retracts its invitation to Iran by 2:00 pm ET on Monday, a senior coalition member said.

    Late on Sunday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon invited Iran to the conference, dubbed "Geneva 2", prompting the Coalition to quickly issue an ultimatum, on which it has now set a time limit.

    "We are giving a deadline of 1900 GMT (2:00 pm ET) for the invitation to be withdrawn," Anas Abdah, member of the National Coalition's political committee, told Reuters.

    Reading an official coalition statement, Abdah reiterated that the Coalition would accept Iran's participation only if it "publicly states that it is withdrawing its forces, committing to the Geneva 1 agreement in full and committing to implementing any results of Geneva 2".

    The accord reached in Geneva in 2012 calls for a transitional government for Syria, which Western countries and the opposition say means Syrian President Bashar al-Assad must leave power.

    Coalition members privately told Reuters that no one expected Iran, Assad's main backer, to meet any of these terms.

  • Syria peace talks in disarray, before they even begin

    Last minute negotiations are underway to save Syria's peace talks before they even begin, after the main opposition bloc issued an ultimatum that it would rescind its commitment to attend unless Iran withdraws from the talks. But even absent an Iranian presence, President Bashar al-Assad's insistence that he has no intention of standing down makes clear that the Syrian regime enters the Geneva II meeting with a fundamentally different understanding to that of its opponents of the purpose of the talks.

    The Syrian National Coalition, the only opposition faction set to attend this Wednesday's Geneva II meeting, which will begin in Montreux, has given a deadline of Monday night for Tehran's invitation to be rescinded. The SNC objected in a strongly-worded statement to an apparent overture from the United Nations to Iran, the main regional ally of President Bashar al-Assad and his Alawite Shia regime.

    Anas Abdah, a member of the Coalition's political committee, told Reuters: "We are giving a deadline of 1900 GMT for the invitation to be withdrawn."

    Earlier on Monday, Abdah told Al Jazeera that the bloc was "surprised" by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's invitation, saying, "It is illogical, and we cannot in any way accept it."

    Saudi Arabia, which backs and arms Syrian opposition forces, has also rejected Iran's participation in the Geneva II talks.

    Ban said Iran's Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, had promised his country would play a "positive and constructive role" in Geneva.

    "He has assured me that, like all the other countries invited to the opening-day discussions in Montreux, Iran understands that the basis of the talks is the full implementation of the 30 June, 2012, Geneva communique," he said.

    Read more at Al Jazeera America
  • Major Syrian rebel group rejects Geneva peace talks

    A powerful alliance of Syrian Islamist rebels on Sunday rejected peace talks that begin this week, meaning that even if the talks reach an unlikely breakthrough in the three-year-old civil war, it will be harder to implement any agreement on the ground.

    Syria's main political opposition group in exile, the Syrian National Coalition (SNC), agreed on Saturday to attend the talks that will begin in Geneva on Wednesday, setting up the first meeting between President Bashar al-Assad's government and groups in rebellion.

    But the Islamic Front, an alliance of several fighting forces that represents a large portion of the rebels on the ground, said it rejects the talks.

    The U.S. and Russia have been trying to convene the conference since May, but it has been repeatedly postponed. Both sides finally agreed to sit together at the negotiating table after dropping some of their conditions.

    U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Sunday he had invited Iran to participate in the talks as well, something that has been floated as a possibility but had yet to be finalized. Tehran accepted the invitation, according to the U.N.

    Iran has previously pledged to play a "positive and constructive role" if it was asked to participate.

    Read more at Al Jazeera America
  • The United Nations says Iran has been invited to attend a meeting of foreign ministers In Switzerland on Wednesday ahead of internationally brokered peace talks between Syria's warring factions.

    U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told reporters Sunday afternoon that Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has pledged that his country "would play a positive and constructive role" in the meeting to be held in the Swiss city of Montreux.

    Ban says Iran is among 10 additional countries invited to attend the Montreux meeting that precedes the talks scheduled to begin Friday between Syrian President Bashar Assad's delegation and Syrian opposition groups at the U.N. headquarters in Geneva. Thirty other countries had already accepted invitations.

    Ban says Iran has agreed to endorse principles from a previous peace conference calling for a transitional government in Syria.

    [The Associated Press]
  • Kerry blasts Syria's ceasefire offer as a diversion from peace talks

    Secretary of State John Kerry warned Friday that the Syrian government would fail to divert next week's peace talks away from the aim of installing a new government in remarks responding to a proposal Syria presented Friday calling for a ceasefire in Aleppo and a preliminary plan that would lead to an eventual prisoner swap.

    Earlier Friday, during a news conference in Moscow, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem said he had handed his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, details of the ceasefire, plus plans for a prisoner exchange and the opening of humanitarian corridors in Syria.

    "Taking into the account the role of the Russian Federation in ending the bloodshed in Syria, as well as our trustworthy relations, I have handed Minister Lavrov today a plan of security measures in Aleppo," Muallem said.

    "In that regard I asked Minister Lavrov to use his contacts to implement this plan and to establish a specific time when all military actions in this area should be ceased."

    Read more at Al Jazeera America
  • Just after we thought it had turned out the lights, some members of the #SNC decided to keep talking. So a meeting of sorts has restarted.
  • Here's a funny thing: The #SNC meeting scheduled to start today.. never actually, formally, officially started today. #Syria
  • Making position of "Withdrawers" (No to Geneva2) clear: They're not anti-peace talks, but feel guarantee of Geneva1 principles has slipped.
  • Another legal tangle for #SNC : Founding Constitution stipulates no meeting w/ Assad regime. Some say Geneva2 can't happen unless changed.
  • #SNC legal committee itself is split over whether ¾ or simple majority necessary for Geneva2 participation. #Syria .
  • #SNC Khalid Saleh says any #SNC mission to Geneva2 is clear: They go ONLY to discuss formation of transitional governing body. Nothing else.
  • The other #SNC thorny issue tonight: Does Geneva2 participation need a ⅔ or simple (50%+1) majority? Could make all the difference. #Syria
  • Impromptu presser from #SNC Khalid Saleh. No developments. Coalition still split, reconciliation efforts ongoing, debating vote proportion
  • Members of the #SNC 'G2 participators' are heading back to Istanbul trying to persuade the 'Withdrawers' to change their stance. #Syria
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