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Syria opposition calls on Russia to drop Assad

'Russians must stop supporting this criminal regime,' Syrian opposition says

Syria opposition calls on Russia to drop Assad FILE PHOTO

By Fatih Erel


The Syrian opposition delegation at the peace talks in Geneva on Thursday called on Russia to stop supporting the Bashar al-Assad regime.

Speaking after the opposition delegation met Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov, the head of the opposition delegation Nasr al-Hariri said: "Russians must stop supporting this criminal regime and they should stop themselves practicing systematic killing, murdering our people."

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gatilov met the Syrian opposition delegation on Thursday afternoon at the Russian Permanent Mission to the UN in Geneva.

"We hope to begin seriously the real political process that achieves political transition within the timeline of aUN Security Council resolution," al-Hariri said.

"Tomorrow, we are going to submit two memoranda [that address] the sabotaging role of Iran in the region and [...] the issue of detainees [respectively]," he said.

UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura met separately with the delegations on the third day of the Geneva VI peace talks on Syria.

De Mistura announced that the technical discussions to address constitutional and legal issues in the context of the intra-Syrian talks began on Thursday and that both sides had agreed to set up expert committees to discuss constitutional and legal issues.

The new round of talks is expected to end on Friday. The delegation from the Syrian regime is headed by Bashar al-Jaafari. The opposition is led by Nasr al-Hariri from the High Negotiations Committee.

De Mistura will meet separately with each delegation at the UN offices.

The main discussions are to focus on a new constitution, governance, elections and the fight against terrorism.

The last round of talks began on March 23 and ended on March 31 without any clear result.

Since civil war in Syria erupted in March 2011, more than 250,000 people have been killed, according to the UN. The Syrian Center for Policy Research puts the death toll at more than 470,000.

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