1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Syrian opposition groups agree on 'roadmap' to peace

July 24, 2015

Syria's two main opposition groups have announced a deal on "fundamental" regime change that requires Assad to step down. But another Syrian peace conference would be "premature," according to the regime.

Syrian National Coalition und die National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change in Brüssel
Image: picture-alliance/AP Photo/G. Vanden Wijngaert

Both the exiled Syrian National Coalition (SNC) and the National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change (NCCDC) called for a transitional government, under conditions set by a UN-sponsored plan from 2012.

The two rival groups agreed on "roadmap for the salvation of Syria", they said in a joint statement on Friday.

Their solution would involve "a fundamental and comprehensive change of the current political regime, including the head of the regime and all its leaders, pillars and security agencies."

"We do not see any role for Assad or members of his government in a transitional body," Hisham Marwa of the exiled SNC said in Brussels, adding that the current president and his associates "should be brought to justice."

However, a NCCDC representative Safwan Akkash said that "Assad's role is secondary" while the fate of other members of the regime "will be discussed."

The SNC has repeatedly accused the Damascus-based NCCDC of being too lenient towards the regime. In turn, the NCCDC claimed that their opposition rivals were bankrolled by oil-rich Arab Gulf countries.

Even with the long-running differences put aside, the two groups have very little influence among the rebel groups doing the actual fighting on the ground.

Failed diplomacy

On Thursday, UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura met with Damascus politicians, and is due to brief the Security Council on latest developments next week. De Mistura has spent months talking to various parties involved in the Syrian civil war.

Despite UN efforts, prospects for diplomacy ending the violence that started over five years ago, remain dim. The UN has hosted two major conferences on Syria since 2011, with the talks ending in failure early last year.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said on Friday that staging another conference would be "premature unless the Syrians address their issues among themselves."

Rivals against IS

Since the beginning of the year, Assad's regime has suffered a series of military setbacks, leading some Western officials to believe that the embattled president might decide to leave office.

However, the string of defeats also triggered new pledges of support from Tehran, the main regional ally of the Damascus government.

Russia, Assad's other large ally, announced it aims to create a regional alliance against the "Islamic State" group, including Syria and its rivals Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

On Friday, Moualem said that such an alliance would require "a miracle" in the short term. However, the foreign minister did not close the door on the idea further down the road, saying the threat of terrorism would force Syria's neighbors to into an alliance with Damascus.

dj/sms (AFP, AP, Reuters)