09:53 GMT +317 July 2019
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    Member of  the Islamist group Ansar al-Islam and the Ahrar ash-Sham (Islamic Movement of the Free Men of the Levant) group

    Opposition Threatens New Syrian Constitution - US State Senator

    © AFP 2019 / RAMI AL-SAYED
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    The August deadline set through the United Nations process for a new Syrian constitution will probably not be met as a result of the opposition’s unwillingness to establish peace in the country, US State Senator from Virginia Richard Black told Sputnik.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Prior to the April round of Syrian peace talks, Syrian President Bashar Assad told Sputnik that a draft of a new constitution could be ready within weeks, if the conflicting parties entered direct talks. New talks have since been stalled for at least the next two to three weeks.

    "I don’t see any seriousness on the part of the terrorists to attempt to resolve this and to restore peace to Syria," Black said on Friday, adding he would be "surprised" if the upcoming target date for a new Syrian constitution is met.

    Black, who recently met with President Assad during a trip to Syria and maintains contact with the government, repeatedly referred to opposition groups as terrorists, stating they are armed and financed by Saudi Arabia and Turkey in an effort to "try to conquer Syria."

    He specifically named Ahrar ash-Sham and al-Nusra Front among the foreign-backed terrorist groups.

    The US State Department has repeatedly said it believes terrorist groups are "commingling" with what it views as legitimate members of the government opposition.

    On Friday, Assad reaffirmed that the new Syrian constitution will not be a project "from abroad," but will be determined by the people of Syria.

    The statement follows rumors that nations highly involved in the International Syria Support Group are attempting to rewrite the constitution during the UN-sponsored peace process.

    Through the process set in motion by UN Security Council resolution 2254, August was set as a target date to establish a new constitution with terms to facilitate a government transition.

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