National Security Brief: Syrian Opposition Won’t Attend Peace Talks

(Credit: Reuters)

The Syrian opposition will not take part in upcoming U.S.-Russian sponsored peace talks in Geneva, a spokesperson for the Syrian National Coalition said on Thursday.

“[An] international conference on a political solution to the situation in Syria has no meaning in light of the massacres that are taking place,” said SNC spokesman Khalid Saleh.

It was always unclear whether opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Adssad and his regime would attend the conference, as infighting has plagued the SNC and Assad’s forces — with the help of the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah — have made military gains in recent weeks.

The Syrian government said this week it would attend the peace talks with “good intentions” and without preconditions, as Foreign Minister Walid Moallem said on Wednesday.

“One of the objectives of Geneva is to rehabilitate Assad,” Shadi Hamid, director of research at the Brookings Doha Center, told the Wall Street Journal. “That’s how the Russians see it. That’s how the Syrian government sees it, and quite frankly, the U.S. might even be open to that soft landing where elements of the regime will be maintained.”

Meanwhile, Assad said in an interview on Thursday that Russia has delivered S-300 air defense missiles to Syria and the Washington Post reports that in March the Syrian army requested from a Russian company 20,000 AK-47 rifles, 20 million rounds of ammunition, machine guns, grenade launchers and night vision goggles to the Syrian military.

In other news:

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