Russia backs Assad-led regime in Syria: Opposition head

Russia backs Assad-led regime in Syria: Opposition head

Moscow has failed to pressure Assad regime to make concessions in Geneva, Syrian opposition leader asserts

By Mohamad Misto, Sinan Polat and Said Ibicioglu

ANKARA (AA) – Russia is willing to support a new Syrian regime that still includes Bashar al-Assad, Anees al-Abdi, head of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, said Friday.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency in Ankara, al-Abdi said that the Syrian regime’s "indifference" to ongoing talks in Geneva showed how Russia had failed to pressure the regime to make any concessions.

"Russia’s refusal to include certain elements of the opposition, such as the Ahrar al-Sham al-Islamiyya and the Jaysh al-Islam, can be attributed to Russia’s desire to abort the [Syrian] revolution," he said.

"Both groups are core components of the revolution and both are considered very moderate," he added. "A political resolution cannot be achieved without them."

Al-Abdi went on to note that the Syrian opposition was currently working out the details of a planned interim phase.

"But we haven’t received any guarantees from the Syrian side," he said.

Al-Abdi also said that, despite a UN Security Council resolution calling for the allowance of humanitarian assistance into war-ravaged Syria, "the regime hasn’t shown any intention of allowing aid into the country".

He went on to cite UN figures suggesting that as many as 700,000 Syrians were currently under siege by regime forces in 28 different parts of the country.

"We can’t discuss the political process until the regime takes steps to improve the humanitarian situation," he said.

Anadolu Agency correspondent Ahmet Sait Akcay contributed to this report from Ankara

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