Syrian opposition-backers Qatar, Turkey 'coordinating positions' before peace negotiations

Syrian opposition-backers Qatar, Turkey 'coordinating positions' before peace negotiations
2 min read
26 December, 2016
A meeting held between Turkish FM Mevlut Cavusoglu and Qatar counterpart Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani on Monday to discuss upcoming opposition-regime negotiations in Kazakhstan and Switzerland.
Qatar and Turkey are coordinating positions ahead of renewed peace talks for Syria [Anadolu]


A meeting held between Turkish FM Mevlut Cavusoglu and Qatar counterpart Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani on Monday was attended by Riad Hijab, general coordinator of the Syrian opposition High Negotiations Committee, sources told The New Arab.

The meeting was held for consultations and to coordinate positions between the two countries, the sources said, ahead of negotiations between Syrian regime and opposition representatives scheduled to take place in Astana, Kazakhstan after the new year.

Qatar and Turkey are close allies and have both backed Syrian opposition factions against the regime of Bashar al-Assad. But Turkish-Russian rapprochement following a failed coup attempt in Turkey has led to adjustments in Turkey's line on Syria.

On Thursday, the Qatari FM was in Ankara where he met with Turkish President Erdogan.

Thursday and Monday's meetings were held "to brief Qatar on the accords reached between Ankara, Tehran and Moscow on the Syrian issue and negotiations to be held in Astana in mid-January," added the sources.

A sticking point in the forthcoming negotiations, will be representation of Syria's opposition groups in the wake of the Russian-enabled regime capture of Aleppo from rebels


A sticking point in the forthcoming negotiations, however, will be representation of Syria's opposition groups in the wake of the Russian-enabled regime capture of Aleppo from rebels.

Russia rejects the formal participation of the HNC, but does not object to Riad Hijab's attendance of the negotiations in his 'personal capacity'. Turkey's position is not yet clear on this regard, and the issue will have likely been discussed in the meetings with Qatari officials.

According to the Qatar News Agency (QNA), Monday's meeting discussed developments in East Aleppo, Turkey's talks with Russia and Iran in Moscow last week and humanitarian efforts to assist civilians in besieged areas in Syria.

Following a three-way meeting in Moscow on Tuesday, Russia, Iran and Turkey agreed a roadmap for a political settlement in Syria.

The agreement came days after Assad's Russian and Iranian allies helped crush armed opposition in east Aleppo, one of the last bastions of rebel groups, which had been under siege for several months.

Specific details of the roadmap are yet to emerge, but the fate of Bashar al-Assad and the form of political transition in Syria are likely to be key obstacles to the Astana negotiations set to take place in parallel with talks in Geneva in February.