The supreme negotiating body which emerged from the Riyadh conference for the Syrian opposition is preparing to attend an “open meeting” in the Saudi capital which will start on Sunday and finish on the 21st of January, i.e. four days before the upcoming negotiations with the regime’s delegation according to what the body’s spokesman Monzer Makhous told Asharq Al-Awsat.
The body is scheduled to hold an initial meeting on Sunday and then meet with the UN special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura in Riyadh. It will then continue its consultations which are aimed at preparing for the face to face negotiation process with the regime which is expected to begin on the 25th of January in Geneva.
It is believed that de Mistura will deliver a message from the Russians to a meeting with the supreme negotiating body which contains a proposal to add new names to the negotiating delegation of the opposition, a proposal that the body rejected formerly because the body “alone will form its delegation to the negotiations”.
In parallel with this political move by the Syrian opposition, ISIS began to evacuate families of fighters from rural Aleppo in the direction of the city of Raqqah and left behind fighters in the city of Al-Bab and its suburbs amidst speculation that it is preparing for major battles in the area.
On the other hand, the Syrian Network for Human Rights issued a report highlighting the most prominent human rights violations in Syria during the year 2015 which included extrajudicial killings, torture, detention, enforced disappearances, destruction, and the use of illegal weapons. It documented the killing of 12,044 civilians at the hands of the regime’s forces, 832 civilians in Russian air raids, 1366 civilians at the hands of ISIS and 1072 civilians at the hands of the rest of the opposition factions.