Mobile  |  About us  |  Photos  |  Videos  |  Subscriptions  |  RSS Feeds  |  Today's Paper  |  Classifieds  |  Contact Us
The Daily Star
THURSDAY, 17 APR 2014
12:46 PM Beirut time
Weather    
Beirut
22 °C
Blom Index
BLOM
1,214.01down
Middle East
Follow this story Print RSS Feed ePaper share this
Syria's Islamic Front spurns talks with U.S.
Reuters
U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/AFP)
U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/AFP)
A+ A-

BEIRUT: Islamist rebels fighting in Syria have rejected overtures from the United States to sit down and talk, a senior U.S. diplomat said on Wednesday.

The Syrian government said it was "reprehensible" that Washington was prepared to enter a dialogue with the Islamic Front, which comprises six major Islamist rebel groups and which it considers a terrorist organisation.

The developments highlighted the difficulty for Washington in engaging with the faction-ridden rebels in Syria's civil war. With five weeks to go until U.N. peace talks in Geneva, it is unclear who will represent the opposition, and the clock is ticking towards a Dec. 27 deadline set by U.N. mediator Lakhdar Brahimi to name delegations.

"The Islamic Front has refused to sit with us without giving any reason," U.S. Syria envoy Robert Ford told Al Arabiya television, a day after Secretary of State John Kerry said talks might take place.

"We are ready to sit with them because we talk to all parties and political groups in Syria," said Ford, speaking in Arabic.

Hostility towards the United States among al Qaeda-linked groups operating in Syria could make it hard for the newly formed Islamic Front to engage publicly with Washington. Any open cooperation could put it on a collision course with the powerful and more radical Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), al Qaeda's leading franchise in the region.

In a statement released by the Syrian state news agency, a foreign ministry spokesman said dialogue with the Islamic Front contradicted U.S. and international commitments to combat terrorism as well as "international pledges that terrorist organisations would not be given the chance to participate in the Geneva conference."

The long-delayed talks in Switzerland are meant to discuss a political transition to lead the country out of a civil war that has killed well over 100,000 people.

The Islamic Front has overshadowed the more moderate Free Syrian Army brigades, which are led by the Supreme Military Council (SMC) and backed by Western and Arab powers.

The Front has rejected the authority of the SMC, the main opposition's military wing, and last week seized control of SMC weapons depots in northern Syria.

The Islamic Front "agrees in principle, strategy and goals with the Nusra Front," the Syrian foreign ministry statement said, referring to an al Qaeda-linked rebel group that the State Department last year designated as a terrorist organisation.

 
Home Middle East
 
     
 
Syria / United States of America
Advertisement
Comments  

Your feedback is important to us!

We invite all our readers to share with us their views and comments about this article.

Disclaimer: Comments submitted by third parties on this site are the sole responsibility of the individual(s) whose content is submitted. The Daily Star accepts no responsibility for the content of comment(s), including, without limitation, any error, omission or inaccuracy therein. Please note that your email address will NOT appear on the site.

comments powered by Disqus
Advertisement


Baabda 2014
Advertisement
Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Linked In Follow us on Google+ Subscribe to our Live Feed
Multimedia
Images  
Pictures of the day
A selection of images from around the world- Tuesday April 15, 2014
View all view all
Advertisement
Rami G. Khouri
Rami G. Khouri
Silencing Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s hate talk
Michael Young
Michael Young
Why confuse gibberish with knowledge?
David Ignatius
David Ignatius
Putin will keep rolling, until Obama says no
View all view all
Advertisement
cartoon
 
Click to View Articles
 
 
News
Business
Opinion
Sports
Culture
Technology
Entertainment
Privacy Policy | Anti-Spamming Policy | Disclaimer | Copyright Notice
© 2014 The Daily Star - All Rights Reserved - Designed and Developed By IDS