Syrian Rebels Won’t Participate in Peace Talks Unless They Get Weapons

The Syrian rebels have said that they will not participate in peace talks that Secretary of State John Kerry is trying to organize in Geneva unless they receive new weapons and ammunition.

The Syrian opposition will not attend the proposed Geneva conference on the crisis in Syria unless rebel fighters receive new supplies of arms and ammunition, the top rebel military commander said Friday.

“If we don’t receive ammunition and weapons to change the position on the ground, to change the balance on the ground, very frankly I can say we will not go to Geneva,” Gen. Salim Idris said in a telephone interview from his headquarters in northern Syria. “There will be no Geneva.”

Secretary of State John Kerry announced in May that the United States and Russia planned to organize an international meeting that would bring together representatives of President Bashar al-Assad’s government and the Syrian opposition.

The aim of the meeting, which has emerged as the centerpiece of Mr. Kerry’s Syria strategy, is to negotiate a transitional government that would take control if Mr. Assad agreed to vacate his position. A date for the Geneva conference has yet to be set.

But since that announcement, Mr. Assad’s military position has been strengthened by flights of arms from Iran and the involvement ofthousands of fighters from Hezbollah, the Lebanese militant group. The change of fortunes on the battlefield was illustrated last week when the Syrian military and Hezbollah fighters captured the town of Qusayr.

These peace talks are ultimately a waste of time because there is nothing to discuss. The opposition want Assad gone and the Russians and Assad will not entertain a solution that forces Assad from power.

The opposition is also calling the West’s bluff. Right now, all that the West has publicly offered the rebels is little more than words of encouragement. Now that the rebels are losing, they want weapons and ammunition which they hope will eventually lead to air strikes by the US and its NATO allies as the West becomes more involved.

The US should have never become involved in Syria in the first place and unfortunately, the quagmire will sink the US deeper and deeper.