On October 31, Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs posted a list of 33 organizations invited to participate in the Syrian Congress on National Dialogue scheduled on November 18 in the Russian city of Sochi. The congress initiative was originally announced following the recent round of the peace talks on Syria in the Kazakh capital of Astana which took place on October 30-31.
On November 1, official from the Syrian opposition rejected this initiative and insisted any talks be held within the UN-backed Geneva format, which has allowed to achieve almost nothing since its launch.
Mohammad Alloush, a member of the Saudi-backed High Negotiations Committee and a senior member of the Jaish al-Islam militant group, told Reuters that the HNC would “issue a statement with other parties setting out the general position rejecting this conference.” Turkey-based Syrian National Coalition also denied its participation. After this, the congress announcement was taken down from the Russian ministry’s website.
It’s clear that the Russia Foreign Ministry was not able to release the list of 33 groups that would particiate in the announced congress without pre-consideration with the representatives of these groups. Most likely, the so-called “opposition” changed their vision of the situation under pressure of their Western backers. If Russia is able to establish a successful negotiation ground in Sochi, this will be another victory of Moscow’s diplomacy over the conflict. Some powers cannot allow this.
The issue of the upcoming talks and their participants remains open.
Here’s the original list, with each entry followed by the respective organization’s headquarters (source):
- Popular Front for Change and Liberation, Cairo
- National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change, Damascus
- People’s Party, Damascus
- People’s Will Party, Damascus
- National Youth for Justice and Development, Damascus
- Solidarity Party, Damascus
- National Congress Party for secular Syria, Damascus
- Alternative for Syria, Damascus
- High Negotiations Committee, Riyadh
- Kamh movement, Paris, Geneva
- Southern Front of SFA, Geneva
- Syrian National Council, Istanbul
- National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, Istanbul
- Democratic Union Party, Qamishli
- Kurdistan Democratic Party of Syria, Kobani
- Syriac Union Party, Qamishli
- Kurdish National Council, Qamishli
- Movement (Together) for a Free and Democratic Syria, Geneva, Madrid
- Building the Syrian State, Geneva
- Syrian Democratic People’s Party, Damascus
- Syria Homeland Party, Damascus
- National Conference, Damascus
- Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party — Syrian Regional Branch, Damascus
- Social Democratic Unionists, Damascus
- Path of Peaceful Change, Damascus
- Syrian National Youth Party, Damascus
- The Elders
- Syrian National Democratic Union
- Syrian Social Nationalist Party, Damascus
- Assyrian Democratic Organization Mtakasta
- Democratic Arab Socialist Union, Damascus
- Arab Socialist Union, Damascus
- Socialist Unionists, Damascus