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    Badr Jamous

    Syrian National Coalition Refuses to Take Part in Moscow Talks

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    The main Western-backed opposition will not participate in talks with the Syrian government in Moscow later in January.

    MOSCOW, January 19 (Sputnik) — The National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces will not participate in talks with the Syrian government intended to be held in Moscow later in January, Badr Jamous, Vice President of the body, told Sputnik on Monday.

    The Syrian National Coalition, headquartered in Turkey, is the principal representative of the Syrian opposition, and brings together various opponents of Syrian President Bashar Assad from both inside and outside the country.

    "We support the Russian party's efforts and the steps they take. However, the atmosphere we see indicates the lack, due to a number of reasons, of progress in any of the theses listed by us in the memorandum to the Russian Foreign Ministry," Jamous said.

    The opposition member blamed the government of Bashar Assad for confining the agenda of the meeting to the fight against terrorism and support for the Syrian army.

    "Thus, he [Assad] has set the agenda he would like to see himself, which is unacceptable for such [a] meeting. We need the support of the Russian party and its efforts, but in another format," Jamous added.

    He also said that the Syrian National Coalition has not decided yet whether a Syrian opposition meeting in Cairo would take place on January 22, as previously agreed, or be postponed until after the Moscow meeting.

    The Moscow talks, between the Syrian government and its opposition, are scheduled for January 26-29. Representatives of the Syrian government and inner opposition parties, as well as the UN special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, will take part.

    The Syrian government has been fighting various armed groups since 2011. According to the United Nations, the civil war has to date killed over 200,000 people and displaced millions, making it the largest ongoing humanitarian crisis in the world. The Bashar Assad government and the Syrian opposition previously held talks in Geneva in 2012 and 2014, but failed to reach an agreement.

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    Bashar al-Assad, talks, Syrian National Coalition, Badr Jamous, Cairo, Turkey, Syria, Moscow, Russia
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