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syria opposition in riyadh aims to form united front | russia news


baghdad, iraq - syria peace talks have become a parallel saga to the suffering and violence that continues in the country, where 6.3 million people remain internally displaced, and more than 470,000 have lost their lives in more than seven years of fighting.the issues surrounding negotiations are complex and multi-layered, with a major sticking point that opponents of president bashar al-assad - the saudi-backed high negotiation committee (hnc), and the cairo and moscow platforms - have failed to form a united front to challenge his government.staffan de mistura, the un envoy for syria, has previously sought to unite the opposition."no one is asking the opposition to suddenly stop being the opposition – but we are urging the opposition to realise that it is at its most credible and effecti






the latest: representative calls for unity among opposition


beirut — the latest on developments in syria and at the geneva talks (all times local):8:50 p.m.a representative of the moscow-backed syria opposition says opposition groups need to form a single delegation if they are to enter talks with representatives of the damascus government in geneva.u.n. envoy staffan de mistura has invited opposition groups and representatives of the syrian government to switzerland in a fresh diplomatic bid to move toward a political solution to the six-year-old conflict in syria.after meeting with de mistura, hamza monzer said his group wanted to move from "a situation of paralysis to action."the damascus government has repeatedly sought to characterize the syrian opposition as too fragmented to take part in any serious negotiation.three opposition groups were i






the latest: un syria envoy meets with opposition reps


beirut — the latest on developments in syria and at the geneva talks (all times local):7 p.m.the united nations envoy for syria is meeting with syrian opposition representatives separately in geneva reflecting the struggle of opposition groups to form a united front in peace talks with the damascus government.staffan de mistura on sunday first met with representatives of the opposition delegation dubbed the cairo platform.after the meeting, jihad makdissi, a former spokesman for the damascus government who left syria in 2012 said the envoy gave them papers on "how to facilitate talks" between the various opposition groups and the government.makdissi, at the helm of the cairo delegation, sought to downplay differences in the opposition saying they were "diverse" rather than "fragmented," an






turkey and russia push for safe-zones in syria | syria news


the presidents of russia and turkey are pushing for the creation of safe-zones in war-torn syria as talks were expected to resume on thursday in kazakhstan between the government and the opposition.meeting in the russian resort town of sochi, recep tayyip erdogan and vladimir putin expressed hope on wednesday that the syrian government and the opposition would adopt this latest proposal to "de-escalate" the conflict, which has run now for six years and claimed some 400,000 lives."we both proceed on the basis that - and this is our common position - the creation of safe zones should lead to further pacification and cessation of hostilities," said putin.turkey and russia are deeply entangled in the war in syria, including each having troops on the ground - ankara supporting various syrian op






turkey and russia push for safe-zones in syria | syria news


the presidents of russia and turkey are pushing for the creation of safe-zones in war-torn syria as talks were expected to resume on thursday in kazakhstan between the government and the opposition.meeting in the russian resort town of sochi, recep tayyip erdogan and vladimir putin expressed hope on wednesday that the syrian government and the opposition would adopt this latest proposal to "de-escalate" the conflict, which has run now for six years and claimed some 400,000 lives."we both proceed on the basis that - and this is our common position - the creation of safe zones should lead to further pacification and cessation of hostilities," said putin.turkey and russia are deeply entangled in the war in syria, including each having troops on the ground - ankara supporting various syrian op






russia, iran, turkey sign on 'de-escalation zones' in syria


beirut — turkey, iran and russia have signed an agreement calling for the setting up of four "de-escalation zones" in war-torn syria in the latest attempt to reduce violence in the arab country.but as officials form the three countries backing rival sides in the conflict signed the agreement on thursday at the syria cease-fire talks in kazakhstan, some members of the syrian opposition delegation shouted in protest and walked out of the conference room in astana, the kazakh capital.the opposition has protested iran's participation at the conference, accusing it of being a party in the war that's killed some 400,000 people.the kazakhstan agreement calls for setting up four zones in northern, central and southern syria. however, no details were provided about how violence will be reduced in t






syria talks in geneva at standstill in final hours | syria news


geneva, switzerland - the syrian government delegation has accused the main opposition group at un-led negotiations of holding the talks "hostage" in their final hours, adding that it would hold the opposition responsible for any failure.after a week of indirect talks, little progress has been made in getting the two sides to the negotiating table.and as a ceasefire on the ground in syria steadily crumbles, it remains unclear whether the rivals will be able to agree even on the basic format of negotiations before this round of talks comes to a close."we must not permit the riyadh platform to hold geneva talks hostage," lead government negotiator bashar al-jaafari told reporters, referring to the opposition, after meeting with un syria envoy staffan de mistura."this did not come as a surpri






syria ceasefire holding as geneva talks begin: un envoy | news


the un's special envoy for syria has said that a us and russia-brokered ceasefire in the country's southwest was generally holding despite some "teething problems," adding he hoped it would contribute positively to talks between the government and opposition.staffan de mistura, speaking at a press conference in geneva, said he was not expecting any breakthroughs but rather "some incremental developments".a new round of indirect talks that began on monday is the seventh so far between syrian government representatives and opposition leaders to try to wind down the country's six-year-old civil war.the start of the talks in geneva coincided with the first full day of the ceasefire for southern syria that was brokered last week by the united states, russia and jordan. read more: syria's 'de-es






riyad hijab quits as head of syrian opposition's hnc | syria news


riyad hijab, the head of syria's main opposition bloc, has resigned before a conference scheduled in saudi arabia aimed at "unifying" various groups opposing syrian president bashar al-assad.a former prime minister under assad who defected following the 2011 uprising, hijab has been the face of the saudi-backed high negotiations committee (hnc) since december 2015. he announced his decision to step down on monday, without explaining the reasons for his move."after close to two years of hard work to preserve the glorious principles of the syrian revolution [...] i find myself forced to announce my resignation from the hnc, wishing it good luck, and wishing peace and security to my beloved country, syria," hijab said in a statement posted on social media. {articleguid}his resignation comes t






u.s. and russia clash at u.n. over syria sanctions


united nations—russia and the u.s. clashed openly at the security council over a syria sanctions resolution, a confrontation signaling washington and moscow don’t see eye to eye on some of the world’s top security crises.the u.s. on tuesday accused russia of covering for syria’s use of chemical weapons, and russia accused the u.s. of using false pretenses to impose sanctions to try to topple syria’s government.the tense...






regional powers agree on syria 'de-escalation zones' | syria news


russia, iran and turkey have signed a deal calling for the setup of so-called de-escalation zones in war-torn syria during talks in kazakhstan's capital, astana.the signing ceremony on thursday was briefly interrrupted as some members of the syrian armed opposition's delegation stormed out in protest against iran's participation in the deal.syria: residents of besieged ghouta fear it is time to flee"we saw several members of the opposition delegation stand up furiously condemning what was going on," al jazeera's jamal elshayyal, reporting from astana, said."they shouted that iran should not be a signatory to this. in fact, they went as far to saying that iran is a criminal entity that shouldn't be here and they stormed out." read more: syria's war explained from the beginning the latest ro






regional powers agree on syria 'de-escalation zones' | syria news


russia, iran and turkey have signed a deal calling for the setup of so-called de-escalation zones in war-torn syria during talks in kazakhstan's capital, astana.syria: residents of besieged ghouta fear it is time to fleethe signing ceremony on thursday was briefly interrrupted as some members of the syrian armed opposition's delegation stormed out in protest against iran's participation in the deal."we saw several members of the opposition delegation stand up furiously condemning what was going on," al jazeera's jamal elshayyal, reporting from astana, said."they shouted that iran should not be a signatory to this. in fact, they went as far to saying that iran is a criminal entity that shouldn't be here and they stormed out." read more: syria's war explained from the beginning the latest ro






regional powers agree on syria 'de-escalation zones' | syria news


russia, iran and turkey have signed a deal calling for the setup of so-called de-escalation zones in war-torn syria during talks in kazakhstan's capital, astana.syria: residents of besieged ghouta fear it is time to fleethe signing ceremony on thursday was briefly interrrupted as some members of the syrian armed opposition's delegation stormed out in protest against iran's participation in the deal."we saw several members of the opposition delegation stand up furiously condemning what was going on," al jazeera's jamal elshayyal, reporting from astana, said."they shouted that iran should not be a signatory to this. in fact, they went as far to saying that iran is a criminal entity that shouldn't be here and they stormed out." read more: syria's war explained from the beginning the latest ro






riyad hijab quits as head of syrian opposition's hnc | syria news


riyad hijab, the head of syria's main opposition bloc, has resigned ahead of a conference scheduled in saudi arabia aimed at "unifying" various groups opposing syrian president bashar al-assad.a former prime minister under assad who defected following the 2011 uprising, hijab has been the face of the saudi-backed high negotiations committee (hnc) since december 2015. he announced his decision to step down on monday, without explaining the reasons for his move."after close to two years of hard work to preserve the glorious principles of the syrian revolution [...] i find myself forced to announce my resignation from the hnc, wishing it good luck, and wishing peace and security to my beloved country, syria," hijab said in a statement posted on social media. {articleguid}his resignation comes






jaafari: opposition holding geneva talks 'hostage' | syria news


geneva, switzerland - the syrian government delegation has accused the main opposition group at un-led negotiations of holding the talks "hostage" in their final hours, adding that it would hold the opposition responsible for any failure.after a week of indirect talks, little progress has been made in getting the two sides to the negotiating table.and as a ceasefire on the ground in syria steadily crumbles, it remains unclear whether the rivals will be able to agree even on the basic format of negotiations before this round of talks comes to a close."we must not permit the riyadh platform to hold geneva talks hostage," lead government negotiator bashar al-jaafari told reporters, referring to the opposition, after meeting with un syria envoy staffan de mistura."this did not come as a surpri






russia and us at odds over keeping syria chemical experts


united nations — russia says it is talking to the united states about renewing the mandate of experts working to determine who was responsible for chemical weapons attacks in syria, but the u.s. says moscow won't consider the american draft resolution.with two days left before the expiration of the mandate for the joint investigative mechanism, russia's u.n. ambassador vassily nebenzia told the associated press on tuesday that "we are engaging with them. ... we don't know whether we can come to an agreement."a spokesperson for the u.s. mission to the united nations said late monday that "russia is mouthing words of support for jim renewal, but those words are not backed up by any actions."russia, syria's most important ally, and the united states have circulated rival security council reso






russia, iran, turkey sign on ‘de-escalation zones’ in syria


beirut (ap) — turkey, iran and russia have signed an agreement calling for the setting up four “de-escalation zones” in war-torn syria in the latest attempt to reduce violence in the arab country.but as officials form the three countries that back rival sides in the conflict signed the agreement on thursday at the syria cease-fire talks in kazakhstan, some members of the syrian opposition delegation shouted in protest and walk out of the conference room in astana, the kazakh capital.the opposition has protested iran’s participation at the conference, accusing it of being a party in the war that’s killed some 400,000 people.the kazakhstan agreement calls for setting up four zones in northern, central and southern syria. however, no details were provided about how violence will be reduced in






energy alliance propels russia-saudi cooperation


saudi arabia’s king salman plans to discuss syria, the qatar blockade and oil production with russian president vladimir putin next month in russia, according to people familiar with the matter, as energy cooperation deepens political ties between the two former foes.in the first-ever russia visit by a saudi monarch, king salman is expected to give his support for new cease-fires and “de-escalation zones” in syria, where riyadh and...






syrian opposition walks out of astana talks | syria news


syrian rebels have suspended their participation in the latest round of talks in kazakhstan in protest against ongoing air raids in the war-torn country. syrian rebel and government delegations were discussing a russian plan for "de-escalation zones" on wednesday when the opposition walked out, citing the bombardment of rebel-held areas."the opposition delegation, that is the military delegation, has announced they are 'suspending' their participation in these talks," al jazeera's jamal elshayyal, reporting from the capital, astana, said."they aren't fully withdrawing participation, they've walked out of the meetings but they haven't left - at least not yet," he said.syria's civil war, currently in its seventh year, has killed hundreds of thousands of people and has drawn in world powers o






syrian opposition walks out of astana meeting | syria news


syrian rebels have suspended their participation in the latest round of talks in kazakhstan in protest against ongoing air raids in the war-torn country. syrian rebel and government delegations were discussing a russian plan for "de-escalation zones" on wednesday when the opposition walked out, citing the bombardment of rebel-held areas."the opposition delegation, that is the military delegation, has announced they are 'suspending' their participation in these talks," al jazeera's jamal elshayyal, reporting from the capital, astana, said."they aren't fully withdrawing participation, they've walked out of the meetings but they haven't left - at least not yet," he said.syria's civil war, currently in its seventh year, has killed hundreds of thousands of people and has drawn in world powers o






syria's 'moderate rebels' to form a new alliance | syria


a new military alliance of rebel groups in northern syria aims to consolidate military control over idlib province, the western part of aleppo province and parts of latakia province, according to a free syrian army (fsa) commander.two sources from fsa have confirmed to al jazeera that the new military operation room, under discussion, will be supported by the "friends of syria" - a coalition of the us, turkey, western european and gulf states - which have supported the northern front's operations room, known by its turkish acronym mom. the commander said that the rebel forces will fight against the syrian regime in northern syria. he denied media reports that their goal would be to attack hay'et tahrir al-sham, a salafist alliance dominated by jabhat fatah al-sham (jfs, formerly known as a






syria's 'moderate rebels' to form a new alliance | syria


a new military alliance of rebel groups in northern syria aims to consolidate military control over idlib province, the western part of aleppo province and parts of latakia province, according to a free syrian army (fsa) commander.two sources from fsa have confirmed to al jazeera that the new military operation room, under discussion, will be supported by the "friends of syria" - a coalition of the us, turkey, western european and gulf states - which have supported the northern front's operations room, known by its turkish acronym mom. the commander said that the rebel forces will fight against the syrian regime in northern syria. he denied media reports that their goal would be to attack hay'et tahrir al-sham, a salafist alliance dominated by jabhat fatah al-sham (jfs, formerly known as a






syrian peace talks flounder as participants ask: where is the u.s.?


geneva – the vacuum in u.s. policy on syria is being keenly felt at the latest round of peace talks aimed at negotiating a political solution to the syrian war — talks that seem destined to wind down this week without meaningful progress.five days into a round of discussions intended to take place between delegations representing the syrian government and the opposition, government and opposition negotiators still have not met. instead, the talks, due to end friday, have become snarled in debates about procedures and process without yet addressing the major issues surrounding the remote possibility of finding a political solution to the nearly six-year-old war.these talks, known as geneva iv because they represent the fourth round of discussions aimed at securing a political settlement on






differences reported over syria constitution proposal | syria news


the un special envoy for syria has temporarily withdrawn a proposal to form a consultative mechanism on the syrian constitution, al jazeera has learnt.staffan de mistura had presented the proposal during the ongoing sixth round of syria talks that began in geneva on tuesday.he subsequently withdrew the proposal, and it is now on hold awaiting final feedback from the opposition, issam rayes, a spokesperson for the high negotiations committee (hnc) and a rebel alliance known as the southern front in syria, told al jazeera by phone from the swiss city on thursday.syria under investigation by opcw for using chemical weaponsthe original proposal recommended that de mistura's office, along with legal experts nominated by the opposition and the syrian government, oversee all legal issues during a






syria's war: russia dominates astana talks |


astana, kazakhstan - "astana is created from nothing," they say here. there is certainly some truth to that as it is a city created from scratch on a central asian steppe.i am here for the 7th round of talks on ending six years of devastating war in syria, which are led by three main players: russia, iran and turkey. the russians and iranians are backing the syrian government of bashar al-assad, and turkey is backing some of the rebels.then you have the syrian government itself, the syrian opposition, and delegations from the united states and united nations.however, it has become extremely clear it's the russians who are in charge of this particular show. while that may come as no surprise to syrian observers, the depth of their influence certainly surprised me.speaking to some people at






turkey, russia push for safe-zones in syria | syria news


the presidents of russia and turkey are pushing for the creation of safe-zones in war-torn syria as talks were expected to resume on thursday in kazakhstan between the government and opposition.meeting in the russian resort town of sochi, recep tayyip erdogan and vladimir putin expressed hope on wednesday the syrian government and rebels would adopt this latest proposal to "de-escalate" the conflict, which has run now for six years and claimed some 400,000 lives."we both proceed on the basis that - and this is our common position - the creation of safe zones should lead to further pacification and cessation of hostilities," said putin.turkey and russia are deeply entangled in the war in syria, including each having troops on the ground - ankara supporting various syrian opposition factions






turkey, russia push for safe-zones in syria | syria news


the presidents of russia and turkey are pushing for the creation of safe-zones in war-torn syria as talks were expected to resume on thursday in kazakhstan between the government and opposition.meeting in the russian resort town of sochi, recep tayyip erdogan and vladimir putin expressed hope on wednesday the syrian government and rebels would adopt this latest proposal to "de-escalate" the conflict, which has run now for six years and claimed some 400,000 lives."we both proceed on the basis that - and this is our common position - the creation of safe zones should lead to further pacification and cessation of hostilities," said putin.turkey and russia are deeply entangled in the war in syria, including each having troops on the ground - ankara supporting various syrian opposition factions






u.n. report on aleppo cites syria, opposition forces in war crimes


united nations—syria’s army and opposition forces each committed war crimes in aleppo by deliberately targeting civilian populations and institutions, said a united nations report wednesday that singled out syrian forces for an attack on humanitarian aid convoy.the 37-page report details a dire picture of what occurred in aleppo in the second half of 2016, when fighting between government and opposition forces intensified, leading to the recapturing of the city by syria’s regime. it also validates anecdotal reports and...






syria safe zones plan backed by russia goes into effect


beirut — “de-escalation zones” set up in a deal between russia, turkey and iran in mostly opposition-held parts of syria have gone into effect.the plan is the latest international attempt to reduce violence in the war-ravaged country, and is the first to envisage armed foreign monitors on the ground in syria. the u.s. is not party to the agreement and the syrian rivals have not signed on to the deal. the armed opposition, instead, is highly critical of the proposal, saying it lacks legitimacy.the plan’s details will be worked out over the next several weeks. it went into effect at midnight friday.






the latest: fighters leaving last rebel-held homs district


beirut — the latest on syria (all times local):6:50 p.m.syria's state news agency says 242 opposition fighters and their families have left the last rebel-held neighborhood in the central city of homs.saturday's evacuation is the fourth phase of a process that began last month to evacuate opposition fighters from al-waer neighborhood in homs city to rebel-held areas in northern syria.homs governor talal barrazi told state news agency sana that the number of fighters should reach more than 400 before sunset saturday.more evacuations are scheduled for the coming weeks. the deal to evacuate al-waer was brokered by russia, and russian troops were seen in the city observing the evacuation.opposition activists have criticized the agreement, saying it aims to displace 12,000 al-waer residents, in






regional powers agree on syria 'de-escalation zones' | news


russia, iran and turkey have signed a deal calling for the setup of de-escalation zones in war-torn syria during talks in kazakhstan's capital, astana.the signing ceremony on thursday was briefly interrrupted by the delegation of the syrian armed opposition, who walked out angrily in protest against iran's participation in the deal."we saw several members of the opposition delegation stand up furiously condemning what was going on," al jazeera's jamal elshayyal, reporting from astana, said. "they shouted that iran should not be a signatory to this. in fact, they went as far to saying that iran is a criminal entity that shouldn't be here and they stormed out."elshayyal said that neither the syrian government, nor the opposition - which on wednesday suspended its participation in the talks p






a brief summary of the news over the last six months


nate beeler, the columbus dispatchi thought i might share with you my brief summary of the national news headlines over the last six months:hillary, russia, obama, russia, trump, russia, flynn, russia, comey, russia, brennan, russia, clapper, russia, rice, russia, powers, russia, trump campaign, russia, trump transition team, russia, mccain, russia, russia, schiff, russia, schumer, russia, pelosi, russia, mueller, russia, kushner, russia, house intelligence committee, russia, fbi, cia, nsa, mi6, cnn, nbc, abc, cbs, msnbc, washington post, new york times, ap, russia, russia, russia, russia, russia, russia, russia, russia.john m. contino,goldensubmit a letter to the editor via this form or check out our guidelines for how to submit by e-mail or mail.






differences surface over de mistura's proposal | syria news


the un special envoy for syria has temporarily withdrawn a proposal to form a consultative mechanism on the syrian constitution, al jazeera has learnt.staffan de mistura had presented the proposal during a new round of syria talks that began in geneva on tuesday.he subsequently withdrew the proposal, and it is now on hold awaiting final feedback from the opposition, issam rayes, a spokesperson for the high negotiations committee (hnc) and a rebel alliance known as the southern front in syria, told al jazeera by phone from the swiss city on thursday.syria under investigation by opcw for using chemical weaponsthe original proposal recommended that the office of the un special envoy for syria, along with legal experts nominated by the opposition and the syrian government, oversee all legal is






geneva talks: syria constitution proposal on hold | syria news


the un special envoy for syria has temporarily withdrawn a proposal to form a consultative mechanism on the syrian constitution, al jazeera has learned.staffan de mistura had presented the proposal during the ongoing sixth round of syria talks that began in geneva on tuesday.he subsequently withdrew the proposal, and it is now on hold awaiting final feedback from the opposition, issam rayes, a spokesperson for the high negotiations committee (hnc) and a rebel alliance known as the southern front in syria, told al jazeera by phone from the swiss city on thursday.syria under investigation by opcw for using chemical weaponsthe original proposal recommended that de mistura's office, along with legal experts nominated by the opposition and the syrian government, oversee all legal issues during






differences reported over syria constitution proposal | syria news


the un special envoy for syria has temporarily withdrawn a proposal to form a consultative mechanism on the syrian constitution, al jazeera has learnt.staffan de mistura had presented the proposal during a new round of syria talks that began in geneva on tuesday.he subsequently withdrew the proposal, and it is now on hold awaiting final feedback from the opposition, issam rayes, a spokesperson for the high negotiations committee (hnc) and a rebel alliance known as the southern front in syria, told al jazeera by phone from the swiss city on thursday.syria under investigation by opcw for using chemical weaponsthe original proposal recommended that de mistura's office, along with legal experts nominated by the opposition and the syrian government, oversee all legal issues during a transitiona






differences reported over syria constitution proposal | syria news


the un special envoy for syria has temporarily withdrawn a proposal to form a consultative mechanism on the syrian constitution, al jazeera has learnt.staffan de mistura had presented the proposal during a new round of syria talks that began in geneva on tuesday.he subsequently withdrew the proposal, and it is now on hold awaiting final feedback from the opposition, issam rayes, a spokesperson for the high negotiations committee (hnc) and a rebel alliance known as the southern front in syria, told al jazeera by phone from the swiss city on thursday.syria under investigation by opcw for using chemical weaponsthe original proposal recommended that de mistura's office, along with legal experts nominated by the opposition and the syrian government, oversee all legal issues during a transitiona






the latest: opposition figure to meet with russians on syria


beirut — the latest on developments in syria and at the geneva talks (all times local):7:15 p.m.a syrian opposition official says his delegation will meet with russian representatives on the sidelines of the geneva talks to settle the conflict in syria.nasr al-hariri says the meeting will "most likely" take place on tuesday. he tells reporters: "we hope that russia will adopt a positive attitude."al-hariri appeared optimistic despite the strong military backing and diplomatic protection moscow has afforded damascus over the six-year conflict.he said that russia, which along with turkey helped broker a ceasefire in december, appears to be softening its stance toward the armed opposition.adds al-hariri: "the fact that it has recognized these factions as a negotiating party is an indication t