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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

  • According to the Wall Street Journal, the US and its allies have held direct talks with some of the main Islamist militias in Syria, while Saudi Arabia has taken it a step further by directly arming and funding one of the Islamist groups, the Army of Islam:

    The US and its allies have held direct talks with key Islamist militias in Syria, Western officials say, aiming to undercut al-Qaeda while acknowledging that religious fighters long shunned by Washington have gained on the battlefield.

    At the same time, Saudi Arabia is taking its own outreach further, moving to directly arm and fund one of the Islamist groups, the Army of Islam, despite US qualms.

    Both the Western and Saudi shifts aim to weaken al-Qaeda-linked groups, which Western officials now concede are as great a danger in Syria as President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

    The Saudis and the West are pivoting toward a newly created coalition of religious militias called the Islamic Front, which excludes the main al-Qaeda-linked groups fighting in Syria — the Nusra Front and the Islamic Army of Iraq and the Levant.

    Over the past two months, the militias, which command the loyalty of tens of thousands of fighters driving the conflict in Syria, have begun to consolidate their ranks. In late November, they announced they were banding together and forming the Islamic Front.

    Read more at the Wall Street Journal [Subscription Required]
  • Israel acknowledged on Tuesday that it has been funneling food and emergency supplies to Syrian villages across its borders for months now, The Associated Press reported Tuesday. 

    "We can't sit by and watch the humanitarian difficulties on the other side," Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said. "We've transferred water, food, including baby food, taking into consideration that these villages are besieged and they don't have access to any other place."

    Meanwhile, Saudi Interior Minister Muhammad bin Naif approved new relief programs for Syrian refugees at a total cost of $8.5 million (SR 32 million), according to Arab News. The relief programs plan to supply 3,000 new tents, 300,000 blankets, 200,000 jackets, 600,000 sweaters and other winter-time gear for the refugees. Since the Saudi National Campaign for Syrians began, which bin Naif heads, it has spent more than $141 million (SR 530 million) on relief programs for Syrians.

    Both Saudi Arabia and Israel are highly critical of embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
  • In a letter dated November 27 but only recently made public, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon says that he is "deeply concerned" about personnel on the ground in Syria undertaking the chemical disarmament of government forces.

    Colum Lynch at Foreign Policy discusses the contents of the letter:

    Ban voiced his concerns in a letter to the U.N. Security Council, which provides fresh details on international plans for the elimination of Syria's chemical weapons. A copy of the letter, which had not been made public yet, was posted on the web site of a reporter from Arab language broadcaster Al Hurra. Sigrid Kaag, a Danish national who heads the U.N.-backed joint mission overseeing the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons, will brief the Security Council on Wednesday on Ban's letter.

    The joint mission, comprised of 15 experts from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and 48 U.N. personnel, is preparing the ground for the latest and most perilous phase of the operation: transporting large quantities of chemical agent through a war zone to the Syrian port of Latakia, where they will be shipped by Norwegian and Danish vessels, and then transferred to American vessels for destruction at sea, according to diplomats.

    Ban said the U.N. has received assurances from the warring parties to cooperate in the transport of chemical materials. The Syrian government, which will take the lead in packing and trucking the toxic materials to the port, has continued its "constructive cooperation" with the mission while "representatives of the Syrian opposition based in Istanbul have also indicated their support for the safe transportation of convoys containing chemical material."

    "Nevertheless, recent fighting in the Syrian Arab Republic shows that the security situation is volatile, unpredictable and highly dangerous," Ban's letter adds. "The Director General of the OPCW and I remain deeply concerned about the safety and security of the joint mission personnel."

    Read more at Foreign Policy

    Read Ban Ki-moon's letter

  • The Washington Institute has released a new report on Syria called 'Rebels Consolidating Strength in Syria: The Islamic Front.'

    From the report: 

    The latest umbrella organization for key rebel factions in Syria may not include U.S.-designated terrorist groups, but it does oppose many U.S. objectives.

    The recent merger of several Syrian rebel groups into the Islamic Front (IF) is one of the war's most important developments. Although the political and military opposition has long been fragmented, the new umbrella organization brings seven groups and their combined force of 45,000-60,000 fighters under one command. It also links the fight in the north and the south. Most notably, though, it affirms the troubles Washington will have setting policy in Syria going forward.


    Formally announced on November 22, the IF includes groups from three prior umbrella organizations: the Syrian Islamic Front (SIF), the Syrian Islamic Liberation Front (SILF), and the Kurdish Islamic Front (KIF). From the SIF, Harakat Ahrar al-Sham al-Islamiyya (HASI), Kataib Ansar al-Sham, and Liwa al-Haqq joined, as did the KIF as a whole and former SILF brigades Suqur al-Sham, Liwa al-Tawhid, and Jaish al-Islam. None of these groups has been designated by the U.S. government as a foreign terrorist organization.

    The Institute focuses on US policy in the Middle East. It states its mission is to ' advance a balanced and realistic understanding of American interests in the Middle East and to promote the policies that secure them.'

    Read the rest of the Institute's report here.
  • Valerie Amos after briefing UNSC on #Syria says "modest progress" on humanitarian access in the country.
  • .@marcorubio says Obama administration never made clear what 'success' would have meant in a #Syria intervention #CHEvents
  • Speaking at the American Leadership and the Future of the Transatlantic Alliance conference, Sen. Marco Rubio said he did not support Pres. Obama's initial plan for responding to Syria.

    'How would we measure success in such a strike?' he said. 

    While Rubio said he thought it was 'wise' Obama came before the Senate, he said he didn't think the president legally had to take such an action. 

  • Though peace talks in Geneva are scheduled to go ahead next month, it is still urgent to act immediately in regards to the well-being of civilians caught up in the fighting, says Politico's Ole Solvang:

    The political negotiations over Syria, now set to continue next month in Geneva, will be tortuous and lengthy at best, while the Syrian government and certain opposition groups continue to commit horrible abuses against innocent civilians. But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing the international community can do in the meantime—especially to ease the plight of civilians suffering at the hands of their own government.


    There is no time for delay. The fast-approaching winter will make the situation in besieged and hard-to-reach areas even more dire, placing the civilian population in a desperate situation. The U.N. humanitarian chief, Valerie Amos, is set to brief the Security Council on the humanitarian situation in Syria again on Dec. 3, and she is likely to report some progress. But incremental improvements should not distract the Security Council from the underlying humanitarian catastrophe in Syria.

    Unless humanitarian organizations are able to access all areas in need by the time of the briefing, the Security Council should show Syria it is serious by adopting a binding resolution to show there will be consequences for defying the council’s authority.

    Read more at Politico

  • United Nations human rights chief Navi Pillay says the UN's evidence on Syrian war crimes implicates President Bashar al-Assad, according to Reuters. 

    From Reuters: 

    Evidence collected by U.N. investigators probing Syrian war crimes implicates President Bashar al-Assad, United Nations human rights chief Navi Pillay said on Monday.

    Pillay later denied having direct knowledge of their secret list of suspects, but her revealing remarks about the head of state were at odds with a policy of keeping the identity of alleged perpetrators under wraps pending any judicial process.

    The U.N. investigators, who collect testimony in utmost secrecy and independently from Pillay, have previously said the evidence points to the highest levels of Syria's government, but have not named Assad or any other officials publicly.

    They have compiled secret lists of suspects and handed them to Pillay for safe storage, in hope that one day suspects will face trial for violations including torture and mass killings.

    "They point to the fact that the evidence indicates responsibility at the highest level of government, including the head of state," Pillay told a news conference.

  • Bloomberg News issued a set of bullet points Monday about the situation in Syria:

    “Terrorists” stormed into Mar Taqla convent in Maaloula and captured nuns, state-run SANA says.

    Al-Qaeda-affiliated groups wrested control of old part of city from troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad today, Rami Abdurrahman, head of U.K.-based activist group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, says by phone

    NOTE: Islamist groups previously overran Maaloula, a city 35 miles northeast of Damascus where residents still speak a version of Aramaic, for a few days in September before troops expelled them.
  • The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told Reuters the death toll in the country's civil war has exceeded 125,000, the news service reported Monday. 

    From Reuters: 

    The death toll in Syria's civil war has risen to at least 125,835, more than a third of them civilians, but the real figure is probably much higher, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Monday.

    The pro-opposition monitoring group also appealed to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and "all people in the international community who have a conscience" to increase their efforts to end the 2-1/2 year war.

    The conflict began as peaceful protests against four decades of rule by President Bashar al-Assad's family, but under a fierce security force crackdown, turned into an armed insurgency whose sectarian dimensions have echoed across the Middle East.

    The Observatory, based in Britain but with a network of activists across Syria, put the number of children killed in the conflict so far at 6,627.

  • The Associated Press has a heartwarming story about how clowns visited Syrian refugee children.

    From the AP:

    At this sprawling desert camp in Jordan, home to thousands of children who fled Syria's civil war, a few found a moment to smile Sunday watching a troop of clowns.

    Five European comedians working for Mabsutins, a private circus and clown group in Spain affiliated with the U.S.-based group Clowns Without Borders, performed for some 60 children. More than 100,000 people live at the wind-swept camp, only 16 kilometers (10 miles) from the Syrian border, and for the children lucky enough to see the performance, it helped them forget about the challenges they face.

    "It was best thing I have seen in my life," said 10-year-old Rana Ziad, who fled from her restive southern border town of Daraa with her parents and six brothers and sisters a year ago. "It was very much fun and I loved it."

  • “My first wish would be to go back to Syria and have my father released, then for things to go back to the way they were” #FutureofSyria
  • Syrian helicopters have dropped "barrel bombs" on rebel towns, killing 20, Reuters reported Sunday. 

    From Reuters: 

    Syrian army helicopters bombarded the northern rebel-held town of Al-Bab for a second day on Sunday, killing 20 people including four women when they dropped improvised barrel bombs on a market district, a monitoring group said.

    The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the death toll could rise because many people were severely wounded in the raid, which came a day after 26 people were killed in a similar attack on the same town by President Bashar al-Assad's forces.

    The British-based Observatory said three rebels from the Tawhid Brigade were killed in Saturday's raid, which appeared to target their headquarters in Al-Bab.

    Sunday's attack may have been aimed at another rebel group, it said. However, barrel bombs - explosive-filled cylinders or oil barrels - are usually rolled out of the back of helicopters and are rarely delivered with any accuracy.

  • Three people have been killed in Lebanon in violence stemming from tensions over Syria's civil war, Reuters reported early Sunday morning. 

    From Reuters: 

    Three people were killed overnight in fighting in the north Lebanese city of Tripoli, security sources said on Sunday, raising to nine the death toll in 24 hours of violence fuelled by sectarian tensions over Syria's civil war.

    The clashes between Tripoli's Alawite minority, which supports Syria's Alawite President Bashar al-Assad, and majority Sunni Muslims who back the Syrian rebels, is the latest round of violence which has killed more than 100 people in the Mediterranean city this year.

    Gun battles have broken out five times since March, killing dozens of people, and twin car bombs at Sunni Muslim mosques in Tripoli killed 42 people in August. The latest clashes were preceded by repeated attacks on Alawite targets over the last week in which several people were wounded.

    Tripoli residents said the sounds of heavy gunfire and rocket explosions echoed across Lebanon's second city from midnight to 6 am.

  • The Syrian prime minister said during a visit to Iran the government was winning the country's civil war, Reuters reported Saturday. 

    From Reuters: 

    Prime Minister Wael Halki said on Saturday Syrian government forces were winning the war with rebels and would not rest while a single enemy fighter remained at large.

    Maintaining Syria's unyielding response to Western calls for President Bashar al-Assad to step aside, Halki said the era of "threats and intimidation has gone, never to return, while the era of victory and pride is being created now on Syrian soil".

    He was speaking during a visit to Iran, which has provided military support and billions of dollars in economic aid to Assad during a 2-1/2-year-old civil war which has killed 100,000 people and shows little sign of being halted by diplomacy.

  • Syrian forces have re-taken a town in the Qalamoun region, Reuters is reporting.

    From Reuters: 

    Forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have recaptured a Christian town on the main highway north of the capital, the army said, putting them back on the offensive in the strategic region near the Lebanese border.

    Assad's forces have made advances in recent months and are trying to secure the highway linking Damascus to the coastal heartland of his Alawite minority sect, but faced a setback last week when they lost the town of Deir Attiya to al Qaeda-linked fighters.

    The town is in the mountainous Qalamoun area overlooking the highway near the Lebanese border, a region that has emerged as the main battleground as Assad and his opponents try to secure a strategic advantage ahead of a peace conference in January.

    "Units from the army managed to defeat terrorist groups which had infiltrated Deir Attiya... The operation eliminated many terrorists from different nationalities," a Syrian army statement said. The government refers to opposition fighters as terrorists.

  • The OPCW has released statements the director-general made to the executive council at its thirty-fifth meeting on Nov. 26. Below are some of the most pertinent statements made by the director-general: 

    A significant part of Syria's declaration of its chemical weapons includes chemicals 
    that fall in the category of common industrial chemicals, or otherwise chemicals that 
    can safely be rendered harmless or destroyed.

    A critical related aspect of carrying out the destruction of these chemicals is the 
    associated costs. In line with the request of the Executive Council, I have established 
    a special trust fund. The projected costs for the treatment and disposal of the 
    chemicals declared by the Syrian Arab Republic and of the effluent generated during 
    the destruction of mustard and binary chemical weapons components are in the range 
    of EUR 35 to 45 million. This figure does not include the costs of transporting the 
    chemicals to be destroyed, which are expected to be covered through in-kind 
    contributions. I wish to thank Denmark, Italy, and Norway, who have come forward 
    with generous offers for maritime transportation. 

    A Maritime Planning Group is expected to meet in Cyprus to discuss and arrive at 
    arrangements between States Parties offering to assist in transportation and to support 
    the OPCW-UN Joint Mission. The Executive Council has requested me to submit, by 
    17 December, a plan for the destruction of Syrian chemical weapons outside its 
    territory. The Council has furthermore asked that the plan include provisions for 
    ensuring clear responsibility at each stage for all chemicals, including responsibility 
    for the requirements of safety and security. It is my hope that the Maritime Planning 
    Group will contribute to identifying the responsibilities of the States assisting in the 
    maritime transport in accordance with existing legal regimes. 

    Meanwhile, a large part of the materials and items necessary for the safe and secure 
    packaging of chemicals has begun to arrive in Lebanon and arrangements are ongoing 
    for their onward transportation to Damascus, from where they will be distributed to 
    the various sites. 

    Click here for the rest of the director-general's statements.
  • Wonder where Syria's exiled children are going? More than 290,000 have come to Jordan #FutureOfSyria #maps
  • Syrian war is making casualties of 'a generation of innocents,' warns UN

    School-age refugees who have fled Syria’s civil war to neighboring countries are cut off from education and increasingly becoming primary providers for families who lack resources for basic survival, the United Nations said Friday.

    A report published by the U.N.’s refugee agency (UNHCR) says children represent 52 percent of the total Syrian refugee population, which now exceeds 2.2 million, and 75 percent of them – 1.1 million – are under the age of 12.

    “If we do not act quickly, a generation of innocents will become lasting casualties of an appalling war,” Antonio Guterres, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, said in launching the report.

    Read more at Al Jazeera America
  • The Syrian National Coalition opposition group will attend the "Geneva 2" talks in January aimed at ending the civil war, the group's president, Ahmad Jarba, said on Wednesday.

    In an interview with Reuters and the Associated Press, he also said regional power Iran should only be allowed to attend if it stopped taking part in the bloodshed in Syria and withdrew its forces and proxies.

    The Coalition had previously said it was ready to attend if humanitarian aid corridors were set up and political prisoners released. It insists that President Bashar al-Assad can play no future role in Syria.

    "We are now ready to go to Geneva," said Jarba on a visit to Cairo, adding that the opposition views the Geneva talks as a step to a leadership transition and a "genuine democratic transformation in Syria".

    "There is no way that the individual responsible for the destruction of the country can be responsible for building the country," said Jarba, referring to Assad.

    Syria said on Wednesday that Western countries which also demand that Assad step down should either stop "dreaming" or forget attending the peace talks.

    Jarba rejected the idea of Iran attending "under the current reality".

    "Iran is responsible for and takes part in the killing in Syria in a very clear way. It killed thousands of Syrians with its Revolutionary Guards and mercenaries from Hezbollah, which is considered a terrorist group," he said.

    "If Iran is serious about resolving the Syrian crisis, it must first withdraw its Revolutionary Guards and (Lebanese) Hezbollah mercenaries."

    Iran is the main backer, along with Russia, of Assad during a conflict that has lasted more than two years, killed more than 100,000 people and uprooted millions more. Tehran has said it would attend Geneva 2 if invited and on Wednesday called for a ceasefire ahead of the talks scheduled for Jan. 22.

  • #Syrian Prez Bashar #Assad called #Iran Prez #Rohani & told him Iranˈs success in #nuclear issue is result of Iranian ppl resistance.
  • The OPCW- UN Joint Mission in Syria has released an update on the mission to Syria's chemical weapons: 

    Following the issuance of the second monthly progress report regarding the OPCW- UN Joint Mission in Syria, a meeting of the Executive Council of the OPCW was held on 26 November 2013.

    In his opening statement Director-General Üzümcü stated that “the resolve to eliminate Syrian chemical weapons in the safest and soonest manner possible reflects a collective commitment,” and added that “States Parties, especially those with the capacity to safely dispose of such chemicals, can and must play their part.”

    A significant part of Syria’s stockpile falls in the category of common industrial chemicals - or chemicals that otherwise can safely be rendered harmless or destroyed by commercial chemical disposal companies.  The Director-General urged Member States to encourage qualified firms based in their countries to participate in this process.

    A large portion of the materials necessary for the safe and secure packaging of Syria’s declared chemicals has arrived in Lebanon. Arrangements are currently underway for their onward transportation to Damascus from where they will be distributed to the various relevant sites.

    At the same time, the verification of destruction activities being conducted by Syria continues. The number of OPCW inspectors there will soon be increased in keeping with the need to run verification activities in parallel at different locations. This includes witnessing the decanting and packing of chemicals, collecting samples for further analysis, as well as monitoring the loading and embarkation of chemicals for transportation outside Syrian territory.

    The programme to remove chemical weapons from Syria to locations elsewhere continues to pose challenges due to the security situation on the ground.

  • The foreign ministers of Turkey and Iran called on Wednesday for a ceasefire in Syria before proposed peace talks in Geneva scheduled for January 22.

    "All our efforts are to end the conflict and for a ceasefire if possible, even before the Geneva 2 conference takes place," said Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif at a news conference in Tehran with his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu.

  • Germany plans to make two million euros available for the Geneva peace process on Syria, according to a news release on the country's Foreign Office website. 

    Foreign Minister Westerwelle issued the following statement on Nov. 26 concerning Geneva 2:

    I welcome the fact that UN Secretary General Ban Ki moon has now set a concrete date for the Geneva peace conference on Syria. This is our only real opportunity to finally embark upon a political process.

    We call on all political stakeholders in Syria to participate in the Geneva conference.

    We will use the remaining time to work closely with our international partners in order to make the Geneva peace process a success.

    Germany is making available an additional 2 million euros to the United Nations to support the Geneva peace process and the work of the UN Special Representative for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi.

  • The list of participants for #Syria peace conference scheduled for January 22 has yet to be established, #UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi
  • Brahimi's press conference has ended at 11:01 a.m. ET. 
  • Brahimi adds: not all who want to come will be able to. #Geneva2
  • Brahimi says opposition delegation at Geneva 2 should be credible and representative.
  • Being realistic, a lot of the things that need to happen will happen after the conference starts, not before the conference starts, Brahimi said, in response to a question about a ceasefire.

  • When asked about a ceasefire, Brahimi said he 'strongly' appeals to the parties to observe one, echoing Ban Ki-moon that this is a 'huge opportunity for peace' that shouldn't be wasted. 
  • Brahimi: both sides should name delegations before end of year
  • Brahimi says Iran and Saudi Arabia are "among possible participants" in Geneva two.
  • Brahimi: We are still discussing the complete list of participants.  We are in touch both with the government and the opposition. We are asking them to name their delegations as early as possible.
  • Report: Over 11,000 Syrian children killed in war, most by explosives

    Explosive weapons, including bombs, killed seven in 10 of the more than 11,000 Syrian children under the age of 17 who have died in Syria’s brutal civil war, according to a report released on Sunday.

    The Oxford Research Group, a London-based think tank, pooled data recorded by the United Nations and four Syrian human rights groups in order to calculate the causes of death of the 11,420 children aged 17 and under who have been killed during the Syrian war since it began in March 2011.

    Most often, they were killed by explosives, but also from executions and torture. Since March 2011, 113,735 civilians and combatants have been killed in the Syrian conflict.

    “What is most disturbing about the findings of this report is not only the sheer numbers of children killed in this conflict, but the way they are being killed,” said Hana Salama, a co-author of the report, in a release. “Bombed in their homes, in their communities, during day-to-day activities such as waiting in bread lines or attending school; shot by bullets in crossfire, targeted by snipers, summarily executed, even gassed and tortured. All conflict parties need to take responsibility for the protection of children, and ultimately find a peaceful solution for the war itself.”

    Read more at Al Jazeera America
  • Russian news agency Interfax, citing the Russian deputy foreign minister, is reporting there is no agreement yet on whether Iran will attend the Geneva 2 peace talks on Syria, according to Reuters.
  • A powerful blast ripped through a pickup truck in the south Syria province of Deraa early Wednesday, killing 21 people including four children, a monitoring group said.

    "Twenty-one people were killed in the Nawa area (of Deraa), among them four children and six women, in a blast that detonated as their vehicle went past Tal al-Jumua," where a battalion of troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad is positioned, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

  • A general director of Doctors Without Borders is calling for greater access for humanitarian aid in Syria to help people affected by the country's civil war.

    Christopher Stokes also urged the international community to show the same urgency to secure access for such assistance as it did to rid Syria of its chemical weapons.

    Stokes said the recent access granted to weapons inspectors proves areas that have long been sealed-off can be opened if the political will exists.

    Doctors Without Borders currently operates four clinics in opposition-held areas, and clandestinely supports 70 in government-controlled territory.

    Stokes said Tuesday that the government has not authorized the group to work in Syria.

  • None of Syria's chemical weapons sites are under rebel control, the key opposition National Coalition said on Tuesday.

    The assertion came after the head of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said one abandoned site was in a rebel-held area and that inspectors from a UN-OPCW team were hoping to visit it.

    In a statement, the Syrian National Coalition opposition grouping said it backed the UN-OPCW mission but insisted none of the weapons sites were under rebel control.

    "There are chemical sites under regime control that Free Syrian Army brigades are laying siege to but there are no chemical sites at all that are controlled by the rebel brigades," the Coalition said.

    The statement said the Coalition and rebel command sought "full cooperation with all international missions to facilitate their work and ensure their full protection".

  • Syrian warplanes bombed several rebel-held areas on Tuesday and opposition fighters fired mortar rounds and homemade rockets at Damascus on the first day of a major Muslim holiday, activists said.

    The fighting during Eid al-Adha, or the Feast of Sacrifice, showed how entrenched both sides have become in Syria's civil war, now in its third year.

    Previously, combatants occasionally attempted to observe holiday cease-fires.

  • Syria's official news agency says two bombs have exploded near the state television building in central Damascus, Sunday.

    The SANA news agency says state TV's headquarters in Umayyad Square was damaged in the blast, but there was no immediate word on casualties.

  • Iran rejects any conditions for taking part in a long-delayed peace conference on Syria, Iranian media reported, in effect dismissing a US suggestion that Tehran back a call for a transitional government in Damascus.

    The US State Department said on Monday Washington would be open to Iran taking part in a "Geneva 2" conference seeking an end to the war if Iran publicly supported a 2012 statement calling for a transitional authority to rule Syria.

    But Iran rejected any conditions being placed on it to participate in diplomatic efforts on Syria, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham said on Tuesday evening.

    "If our participation is in the interest of achieving a solution, it will be unacceptable to set conditions for inviting the Islamic Republic of Iran, and we accept no conditions," Afkham said, according to the state-run Press TV.

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