-Head of the Syrian Arab Republic delegation to the Syrian-Syrian dialogue in Geneva, Dr. Bashar al-Jaafari said on Thursday that the session of talks held today with the UN Special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura dealt with essential topics, mainly combating terrorism.
“I announce the news of liberating the historic city of Palmyra from ISIS terrorist gangs at the hands of the Syrian Arab army,” al-Jaafari said in a press conference following the session of talks, adding in this context, we mention what President Bashar al-Assad has said after ISIS reoccupied Tadmur ” As we have liberated Tadmur in the past, we will liberate it again.”
He added that the President has fulfilled his pledge, saying to journalists “You are invited to visit the historic city of Tadmur and see the glamour of this city after it became free from the hand of terrorist gangs.”
“We held a round of talks with de Mistura, dealing with basic issues, mainly fighting terrorism, and we listened to the legal experts about these issues and we promised de Mistura to respond to what we have heard of opinions tomorrow, but we presented initial notes today,” al-Jaafari said.
He added “We heard and watched, through media, statements by head and members of al-Riyadh opposition who rejected to include the fourth basket, which is combating terrorism, in the agenda, a matter which is not surprising because part of al-Riyadh opposition join terrorist groups, some of which fight along with the Turkish troops that invaded our lands in the north, and many others are administrated by Israel, moreover, they receive orders from countries known of their responsibility for the Syrian bloodshed.”
“So, we stressed to de Mistura that progress in Geneva dialogue should not be subject to al-Riyadh platform which has rejected to form a unified delegation of the oppositions, and it is not allowed to al-Riyadh delegation to take Geneva talks as a condition for its obstinate stances,” al-Jaafari said.
He added that “For us, and in spite of what has been mentioned, we always seek to continue dialogue and we will do our best to preserve the blood of Syrians and meet their aspirations.”
If de Mistura rejected to include the basket of combating terrorism in the agenda or not, al-Jaafari said” the talks are Syrian-Syrian, and we didn’t hear from de Mistura that he personally rejects to include the fourth basket.”
“During the session that has just ended, we discussed counter-terrorism as a basket equal to the other baskets, and the one who rejects discussing this basket is restricted to the so-called al-Riyadh delegation,” al-Jaafari stressed.
He said that the delegation of Syrian Arab Republic, Cairo and Moscow platforms have agreed to include the fourth basket, adding “So, there is a problem which lies in al-Riyadh platform, and this would not be solved without including this basket within the baskets which form our agenda.”
“Tadmur is a Syrian city, and it is part of the Syrian territories, so, it is subject to the Syrian sovereignty and when ISIS gangs occupied it, this was preceded by US air shelling against sites of Syrian army in Deir Ezzor, a thing which allowed ISIS gangs to move freely into Palmyra, so the matter was not a mere transform of control on Tadmur from the hand of the Syrian army or government into the hand of ISIS, but it was part of a military and political process that aims to pave the way for ISIS to occupy Tadmur,” al-Jaafari said.
He went on to say “anyhow, Tadmur was liberated in the past, and today it is also liberated, and all regions where terrorist gangs exist will be liberated.”
As for his expectations about achieving anything during these talks, al-Jaafair said “Always, in all rounds of the Syrian-Syrian talks whether under the chairmanship of de Mistura, Ibrahimi or Annan, the problem which we spend a long time for it was the agenda.”
About the reality of the Turkish stance, al-Jaafair said “We have dealt with the Turkish military and political invasion to our country long time ago through sending identical letters to Security Council and Secretary General of the UN, which means that we were aware of the danger of the Turkish behavior towards a neighboring country, since the beginning we have considered the Turkish military entrance to our lands as a military aggression.”
As for al-Riyadh platform, al-Jaafari said that a lot of its members are terrorists and some of them go to Israel to have training, shelter and to treat their wounded in the hospitals there.
“There are other groups that work for the interest of Saudi and Turkish intelligence, so al-Riyadh group is not independent and we still consider them as terrorists until they show the contrary,” al-Jaafari affirmed.
On the attitude towards the agenda, al-Jaafari said “our stance is that we have proposed to de Mistura an agenda that includes four equal baskets of the same value and we are the ones who suggested this agenda.”
“As for the problem with al-Riyadh platform, we hope to negotiate a unified delegation of oppositions, not to hold talks with shops of opposition, we want to have talks with a national opposition that thinks about its homeland not to work for the interests of foreign partition agendas,” al-Jaafari added.