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Syrian Opposition Discusses in Riyadh Assad’s Fate | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Smoke rises after shelling on a rebel-held area of Daraa, Syria, June 4, 2017. REUTERS/Alaa Al-Faqir

Beirut, Riyadh- A series of rescheduled meetings among the Syrian warring parties launched on Monday.

The meetings were postponed as the Russian-sponsored representatives failed to arrive on time to the Saudi capital, Riyadh.

The tripartite bringing together the Syrian High Negotiations Committee, the Cairo-backed delegation and representatives supported by Moscow will tackle the Syrian crisis, especially the future of Syrian regime head Bashar al Assad.

After producing a uniform Syrian opposition delegation, the group will then participate at the upcoming Geneva talks.

Syrian opposition sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that a compromise may be proposed, which is that Assad will remain in power for a period of six months before holding presidential elections.

In context, the HNC spokesman Salem al-Musalla said that the meetings will end by naming opposition representatives that would be sent to the Geneva negotiations.

“Until now, the dispute between us and Moscow-backed platform over the fate of Assad is still unresolved, but we are counting on a change in the Russian position,” opposition spokesman Yahya al-Aridi told Asharq Al-Awsat.

The Moscow-backed delegation had before refused to partake in the Riyadh meetings, but later changed its objections. A change in Russia’s stance is believed to be the reason behind the delegation.

The HNC refused for Assad to remain in power even if for a transitional phase. More so, Cairo expressed its objection to Assad or the regime playing any part in Syria’s future.

On the other hand, Qadri Jamil, heading the Moscow-backed delegation suggested keeping Assad in power and appointing five deputies. The proposal found no approval among opposition forces.

Salim al-Musallat, in a statement to Asharq Al-Awsat, reaffirmed that the HNC rejects Assad or the old regime playing any part in Syria’s future, or the transitional period.

Musallat says that the difference among opposition representatives is over the timing of Assad’s departure, whether it would take place at the beginning or at the end of the interim government.

On the other hand, Al-Aridi said that the HNC is acting responsibly and opening the door to all other parties in order to bring views closer and form a single delegation while safeguarding principles of the revolution and persistence.