AFP reports: Syrian rebel fighters and activists said they would boycott an opposition meeting in Cairo overnight, denouncing it as a “conspiracy” that served the policy goals of Damascus allies Moscow and Tehran.
The two-day meeting, organised by the main exiled opposition bloc, the Syrian National Council, and other smaller groups, was intended to forge a united front for a political transition in Syria and was held as government troops kept up their bombardment of rebel forces in the city of Homs.
“We refuse all kinds of dialogue and negotiation with the killers . . . and we will not allow anyone to impose on Syria and its people the Russian and Iranian agendas,” said a statement signed by the rebel Free Syrian Army and “independent” activists.
The signatories attacked the Cairo talks for “rejecting the idea of foreign military intervention to save the people . . . and ignoring the question of buffer zones protected by the international community, humanitarian corridors, an air embargo on Syria and the arming of rebel fighters”.
The Cairo talks come after world powers meeting in Geneva at the weekend agreed on proposals to transition from the government of President Bashar al-Assad, but the plan was branded a failure by both the rebels and the Syrian state media.
The boycotters claimed the Cairo talks follow the “dangerous decisions of the Geneva conference, which aim to safeguard the regime, to create a dialogue with it and to form a unity government with the assassins of our children”.
“The Cairo conference aims to give a new chance to UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan to try again to convince Assad to implement his six-point plan . . . while forgetting that thousands have been martyred since the plan came into force,” they said.
More than 15,800 people have been killed since the uprising against the Assad regime began in March last year at the height of the Arab Spring rebellions across the Middle East and North Africa.
Of these, nearly 4700 have died since the ceasefire brokered by Mr Annan was supposed to have taken effect on April 12, according to the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.