Syrian ex-commander not impressed by Geneva II

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Riad al-Asaad, a founder of the Free Syrian Army, says regime is benefiting from talks.

Riad al-Asaad, a founder of the Free Syrian Army, says regime is benefiting from talks.

ISTANBUL - A senior Syrian opposition commander said the ongoing Geneva II talks are just a stalling strategy that help the Syrian regime, in an exclusive interview with Anadolu Agency on Tuesday.

The commander Riad al-Asaad helped to found the Free Syrian Army (FSA), the main armed group fighting against the Syrian regime, after defecting from his position as a Colonel in the Syrian Air Force in 2011.

Referring to the passage for humanitarian aid into the long-besieged city Homs, Riad al-Asaad said not much is being gained from the talks and the regime is only using them to gain legitimacy within the international community.

"The Syrian opposition coalition has no unity," said the commander. "A big part of its components withdrew from the coalition protesting the Geneva talks and the rest does not fully represent the Syrian people."

The FSA Commander said they objected to the peace talks since they knew the Assad regime was "deceitful" and would not give in to any comprehensive international agreement.

Riad al-Assad said the U.S., Russia and Iran are discussing a possible secret deal that would lead to Syria being divided into separate autonomous regions.

He accused some of the Syrian opposition of being influenced by the agendas of foreign countries, causing them to drift away from the Syrian people.

Citing Turkey's role in the Syrian Civil war, Asaad denied that Turkey has ever sent arms to fighting groups and praised Turkey's humanitarian aid to Syrian society.

The Syrian Civil war, which will reach its third-year mark in March, has resulted in the deaths of over 130,000 people and displaced 6.5 million people internally, according to UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

More than two million are now registered as refugees in neighboring Turkey, Lebanon and Iraq.

According to recent data from Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency of Turkey (AFAD), the number of Syrian refugees in Turkey that are hosted in border camps and city centers has exceeded 714,000. 70% of the refugees are women and children.

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