The Syrian opposition said on Wednesday it had suspended its participation in peace talks
being held in Kazakhstan and demanded an end to government bombing of areas under its control.
A senior official from Kazakhstan’s Foreign Ministry, however, told reporters he expected Syrian opposition figures to return to the talks on Thursday. Another diplomat close to the talks also said the rebels were not walking out completely.
“The delegation has suspended its participation after presenting a memorandum for a total commitment to stopping (regime) bombardments,” Ahmad Ramadan, a spokesman for the opposition Syrian National Coalition (SNC), said.
In the memorandum, the rebels demanded “clear implementation procedures” for matters such as enforcing a ceasefire, withdrawal of government forces from areas taken by them since Dec. 30 last year, and release of detainees.
They also again insisted on regime head Bashar Assad’s departure and objected once again to Iran’s role in the process, describing it as an “aggressor state”. Iran, along with Russia, are Assad’s main supporters against rebels trying to topple him.
In a phone call on Tuesday, United States President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin sought to defuse tension arising from US air strikes on Syrian regime forces in April, expressing a wish for a ceasefire and safe zones for the civil war’s refugees.