World, Middle East

Assad regime working with Daesh, says Syrian opposition

Syrian National Coalition head at Geneva talks says Damascus set up buffer zone to shield Daesh from opposition fighters

27.02.2017
Assad regime working with Daesh, says Syrian opposition Head of Syrian opposition delegation, Naser al-Hariri (C) speaks during a press conference after a meeting with United Nations' Syria envoy on February 27, 2017 in Geneva, Switzerland. ( Mustafa Yalcin - Anadolu Agency )

By Fatih Erel

GENEVA

The Syrian regime has been setting up a buffer zone between Daesh and the Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA), the head of the country’s opposition delegation at the Geneva IV talks said on Monday.

On the fifth day of the fourth round of the intra-Syrian talks, UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura met the Syrian opposition delegation headed by Nasr Hariri, a senior member of the largest anti-regime group, the Syrian National Coalition.

"The regime is actually coordinating with Daesh and has opened a corridor to prevent the Free Syrian Army from fighting Daesh," Hariri told a news conference at the UN at Geneva following a two-hour meeting with de Mistura.

Claiming the regime did not want the FSA to defeat the terror group, Hariri said: "This regime is setting up a buffer zone between the FSA and Daesh."

"We just gave the special envoy a video of testimony of a former detainee who was detained by the FSA and was recently released. In the video, he explains and testifies how regime forces are coordinating with Daesh," Hariri said.

About a possible change in Russia's political position at the Syria talks, Hariri said: "We see an openness of their position."

The opposition delegation is expected to meet Russian officials in Geneva.

Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the regime of Bashar al-Assad cracked down on pro-democracy protests -- which erupted as part of the Arab Spring uprisings -- with unexpected ferocity.

Since then, more than a quarter of a million people have been killed and upwards of 10 million displaced across the war-torn country, according to the UN. The Syrian Center for Policy Research puts the death toll at more than 470,000.


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