Assad is Isolated and Lavrov Praises Saudi Arabia’s Efforts to Unite the Opposition

Members of the Russian air forces express their joy after returning to their country yesterday (AP)
Members of the Russian air forces express their joy after returning to their country yesterday (AP)

After the decision taken by the Russian President Vladimir Putin to withdraw the majority of Russian troops from Syria, a decision that caused international controversy, the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov yesterday said that his country is grateful to the Syrian opposition which was formed during the Riyadh meeting “because it is serious about finding compromises during the talks on Syria”. Lavrov added that “We express our gratitude to our counterparts in Saudi Arabia because this group, as opposed to the group that was formed in January, has a serious intention to join the political process arising from the need to search for compromises and agree on the foundations of mutual agreement with the government”.

Meanwhile, informed sources said that the remarkable development in the Russian position is causing the isolation of Bashar Al-Assad’s regime. The development was a result of a crisis between Moscow and the regime that was caused by the recent statements made by the Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Al-Moallem in which he rejected the idea of sharing power.

While Syrian peace talks in Geneva continued yesterday for a second day, the UN envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura expressed optimism about the outcome of the negotiations after meeting the opposition’s delegation and added that the migration crisis and the latest development regarding the Russian position gives the negotiations impetus. De Mistura called for the release of detainees and the delivery of aid, but he also said that direct talks between the Assad regime and the opposition will not take place until after matters mature.

On his part, the spokesman for the High Negotiations Committee (HNC) Munther Majos said the Russian decision to withdraw its troops “saved” negotiations in Geneva that were going to collapse.