The threat of Syrian peace talks being cancelled seem alleviated as Moscow capitulates to Washington demands that the Saudi-supported Jaysh al-Islam terrorist group be invited.
A UN Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, is said to have invited two separate delegations of groups who oppose the Syrian government, said diplomats who wanted to remain anonymous. The peace process is to begin on Monday in the Swiss city of Geneva.
The peace discussions have been delayed before because of Moscow and Washington disagreeing on which parties are to be invited to participate in the peace process.
Moscow have refused to allow the Saudi-backed Army of Islam to participate despite insistence they be included. This is because they are a coalition of terrorist groups primarily made up of the Al-Nusra Front, Syria’s Al-Qaeda franchise, and its allies in Ahrar ash-Sham and the Free Syrian Army. They currently control all of Idlib province.
Moscow endorses the participation of former Syrian deputy prime minister Qadri Jamil, as well as Saleh Muslim, the co-head of the Syrian Kurdish group PYD.
Under a compromise solution, Russia won’t block the inclusion of Jaysh al-Islam at the talks in return for a separate delegation being invited with the opposition figures it has proposed, a Western diplomat in Moscow said.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said she had no information yet about which opposition delegates will attend the talks in Geneva.
“We are confident that with good initiative in the next day or so, those talks can get going,” American Foreign Minister John Kerry told reporters on Saturday in Saudi Arabia’s capital.