By Askin Kiyagan
VIENNA (AA) – The Syrian opposition’s Higher Negotiation Committee (HNC) said Saturday it will not take part in a planned summit meeting in Sochi on the Syrian conflict.
The announcement was made by HNC head Nasir Hariri following a two-day meeting on Syria held in Austrian capital Vienna.
Speaking at a press conference, Hariri said the international course testing the Bashar al-Assad regime’s determination for political transition was over.
He said the HNC has decided not to attend the Sochi meeting after consultations during the two-day meeting in Vienna.
"Our people have advised not to attend the Sochi talks,” he said, adding that the HNC would maintain political transition negotiations from Geneva.
Asked about an ongoing Turkish military operation against the PYD/PKK terror group in the northern Syrian city of Afrin, Hariri said: "PYD, before Turkey, is primarily a problem for the Syrian people. They have armed militants and have committed violations against civilians."
He stressed that the HNC stands against every terror organization.
The guarantor countries Russia, Iran and Turkey, had agreed to gather for Syrian peace talks in southern Russian city of Sochi on Jan. 29-30.
Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011 when the Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity. Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and more than 10 million others displaced, according to UN officials.