The Western-backed Syria opposition has started a three-day meeting to address a number of issues including the Moscow-brokered peace proposal to end the deadly crisis in the Arab state.
On Friday, the members of the so-called Syrian National Coalition started a closed-door meeting in the northwestern Turkish city of Istanbul.
According to reports, a range of issues are on the agenda of the Istanbul meeting including the election of a new president for the Syria opposition group and Russia’s proposal to mediate negotiations between the Syrian government and the foreign-backed opposition.
It is not clear whether the Syria opposition will take part in the Kremlin-brokered peace talks as it insists that any solution to the Syria crisis must entail the resignation of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the formation of a transitional government. The Syrian government rejects these conditions.
This is while Assad has voiced support for Russia’s efforts to broker peace in his country.
The last round of talks between a Syrian government delegation and the opposition were mediated by the United Nations and held in the Swiss city of Geneva in February last year. The talks came to an end without any tangible results.
Syria has been grappling with a deadly crisis since March 2011. The violence fuelled by Takfiri groups has so far claimed the lives of over 200,000 people, according to reports. New figures show that over 76,000 people, including thousands of children, lost their lives in Syria last year.
Over 7.2 million Syrians have also become internally displaced due to the ongoing crisis, according to the United Nations.
The Takfiri terrorist groups, with members from several Western countries including Canada, France, Australia and Germany, control swathes of land in Syria, and have been carrying out horrific acts of violence such as public decapitations and crucifixions against all communities such as Shias, Sunnis, Kurds, and Christians.