Radical Groups' Inclusion in Syrian Opposition Delegation ‘Provocation’

© AP PhotoMilitant group, members of Ahrar al-Sham brigade, one of the Syrian rebels groups
Militant group, members of Ahrar al-Sham brigade, one of the Syrian rebels groups - Sputnik International
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The inclusion of the Jaish al-Islam and Ahrar al-Sham militant groups, which are designated as terrorist organizations in Russia and Syria, in the Geneva peace talks on the Syrian reconciliation is an effort to sabotage the negotiations, Russian Ambassador to Syria Alexander Kinshchak said.

DAMASCUS (Sputnik) — The Russian ambassador said the Riyadh-formed opposition had done everything possible to sabotage the Geneva talks.

"There were clear political provocations regarding the inclusion of representatives of Jaish al-Islam and Ahrar al-Sham in the opposition negotiating team… It was done on purpose, so that the Syrian Arab Republic would refuse to meet with them, as it was known in advance that Damascus does not wish to deal with terrorists," Kinshchak told RIA Novosti in an interview.

A fighter from the Jaish al-Islam (Islam Army), the foremost rebel group in Damascus province guards a position on the front line in Jobar, on the eastern edge of the Syrian capital - Sputnik International
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Jaysh al-Islam, with up to 25,000 fighters battling Syrian government forces, is designated as a terrorist organization by the United States and the United Arab Emirates.

Damascus and the Syrian opposition began UN-backed reconciliation talks in late January in Geneva but they were later suspended. The negotiations are expected to resume on February 25.

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