Syrian Opposition Splits Over Russian-Backed Sochi Conference

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Syrian Opposition Splits Over Russian-Backed Sochi Conference

Syria’s Tomorrow Movement

On January 28, the Saudi-backed Syria’s Tomorrow Movement (STM) announced in an official statement that its members will attend the Syrian National Dialogue Conference that’s set to be held in the Russian city of Sochi on January 29-30.

In its official statement, the STM said that it accepted the Russian invitation to the Sochi conference in order to “reflect the Syrians’ will to end the war and [to achieve] democratic political transition in the country”. Furthermore, the STM said that it “respects” the will of the Syrians who had rejected the conference, but stressed that the Syrian opposition should not reject joining the international efforts to end the war in Syria.

The STM is headed by Ahmad Jarba, who is well-known as “Saudi Arabia’s man in Syria”, and has strong support from Egypt’s government too. The movement is also known to has strong financial influence over many major Free Syrian Army (FSA) groups in Syria, including Jaysh al-Islam.

The Syrian opposition platform in Moscow announced on January 27, that it will attend Sochi conference too. The head of Moscow platform, Qadri Jamil even revealed that ten members of the Syrian opposition Higher Negotiation Council (SHNC), that rejected to attend the conference, are also willing to go to Sochi.

The STM, the Syrian opposition platform in Moscow and several other parties of the Syrian opposition, who are backed by Egypt and the UAE, together represent the majority of the Syrian opposition and a large number of FSA groups on the ground. This high number of opposition figures is a huge blow to the US-Saudi efforts to foil the Sochi conference, according to Syrian activists.

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