Head of the Syrian regime’s delegation participating in the Geneva peace talks Bashar Ja’afari circumvented discussions about the post-war political transition, which the UN envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura aimed to make this issue the focal point of the new round of talks.
Ja’afari said his talks with de Mistura focused on amending the UN framework issued during the previous round of talks.
De Mistura issued a framework document on the second round of negotiations held last March as a guideline for the political process.
The opposition accused the regime of not taking the talks seriously.
Ja’afari told journalists that he is waiting for de Mistura’s response to his amendments.
The Syrian army recently carried out military operations near Aleppo, which were condemned by the opposition, who argued that the regime does not want a political solution.
The regime shut down an idea that proposed forming a transition council, and instead suggested expanding the government to include people from the opposition.
The opposition said that it could participate in a transitional government with the regime if it excluded Al-Assad.
US secretary of state John Kerry urged for the Syrian government to halt its military operations and asked Russia to assist in putting an end to attacks. In return, Kerry promised to prevent militant groups supported by the US from carrying out operations.
The Russian foreign ministry said in a statement Friday that the actions of the Syrian army backed by the Russian air force aims to prevent Al-Nusra Front from taking control of Syria’s northern territory. “No storm on Aleppo is planned,” the statement said.
“According to available information, about 8,000 Al-Nusra Front gunmen have been concentrated southwest of Aleppo, and up to 1,500 more north of that city,” the statement added.
The Russian foreign minister also said that those militants may find themselves in a blockade if they do not stop their progress.
A ceasefire backed by Russia and the US came into effect on February 27. According to Russia, the agreement does not include groups like “Islamic State” (IS) and Al-Nusra Front.
Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zeid said a delegation from the ministry, led by ambassador Nazih Al-Nagari, headed to Geneva on Friday to monitor the third round of negotiations between the Syrian government and opposition groups.
Al-Nagari held discussions Friday with representatives of the Syrian opposition and is supposed to meet some of the envoys from ISSG.