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Syrian opposition slams international 'silence' on Assad-IS negotiations

Syria's opposition says it 'totally rejects' the deal reached by IS, Hizballah and Syria [AFP]

Date of publication: 29 August, 2017

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Syria's main opposition political coalition has condemned recent negotiations between the Syrian regime and Islamic State group, calling the agreement reached as a violation of UN rules against supporting terrorism.
Syria's main opposition coalition has slammed the international community's "silence" over recent negotiations between Bashar al-Assad's regime and the Islamic State group.

The negotiations, which took place in recent days, resulted in an agreement that will see IS fighters transferred from the Lebanon-Syria border to Deir az-Zor in exchange for the bodies of eight Lebanese soldiers believed to have been murdered by IS.

"The negotiations have laid bare the close links between [IS], the Iranian-backed Hizballah and the Assad regime as well as the complicity of the three parties in the spread of terrorism in Syria and Lebanon," the Syrian Coalition said in a statement. 

The coalition added that the meetings between Syria regime and the IS group "fall within the framework of supporting terrorism" as defined by the UN.

Hizballah's leader Hassan Nasrallah, meanwhile, lauded the ceasefire as a result of a "decisive military victory by the Syrian regime and its militia allies.

"We came and took responsibility by going to negotiations. At the negotiations, IS called for a ceasefire from the first moment," Nasrallah told supporters in a televised speech.

"We - neither the Lebanese army, nor the Syrian army - agreed to a ceasefire. The fighting continued on both fronts, the land was crushed, the hills and highlands were seized and IS found itself on its last square and it collapsed and surrendered after a decisive battle." 

Nasrallah also called for 28 August - the day that the ceasefire began - to be celebrated as "Lebanon's second Liberation Day".

Lebanese government and military officials were also keen to distance themselves from being seen as soft on terror groups.

"The return of Daesh [IS] militants in air-conditioned cars to their countries is permissible because Lebanon adheres to the philosophy of a state that does not exact revenge," Lebanese intelligence chief and top negotiator Major General Abbas Ibrahim said on Monday in a radio interview.

The recent ceasefire ended dual assaults by the Syrian regime and Lebanese army - backed by Hizballah - against the IS group along the Syrian border.

Syria's opposition coalition says it "totally rejects" the deal reached by IS, Syria and Hizballah and has called upon Lebanon to prevent the transfer of IS fighters from Lebanon to eastern Syria.

It also called upon the UN Security Council to "shoulder its responsibilities towards this serious violation" by the regime.

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