Chief peace negotiator of Syrian opposition resigns

Mohammad Alloush in Geneva. File photo

Chief peace negotiator of Syria’s mainstream opposition said on Sunday he was resigning over the failure of the UN- backed Geneva peace talks to bring a political settlement and to ease the plight of Syrians living in besieged rebel-held areas.

Mohammad Alloush, who is also the representative of the powerful Jaish al Islam rebel faction in the Saudi-based High Negotiations Committee, confirmed the news in a statement to Al Arabiya TV.

In a statement seen by Reuters, Alloush said that the peace talks had also failed to secure the release of thousands of detainees or to push Syria towards a political transition without President Bashar al Assad.

The UN-backed parties have not set a date for the resumption of the peace talks after the High Negotiations Committee suspended their participation until the situation on the ground has radically changed.

The talks ended on April 27 with no breakthrough two weeks ago. There had been expectations that a new round would be called at the end of May, but fighting has flared on the ground and aid deliveries to besieged areas continue to be blocked.

Diplomats said there was little chance that the opposition would take part in a new round of peace talks if violence was raging and no aid was reaching civilians. The envoy has repeatedly called on the United States and Russia to take action to shore up the ceasefire that has been in place since February 27.

There have been appeals to Russia, Syria’s ally, and other players to put pressure on all warring factions to allow aid deliveries to reach civilians. De Mistura earlier said that many Syrians will face starvation if the regime and rebel groups do not allow greater access to humanitarian convoys.


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