SMC chief supports Geneva II conference, calls for ‘transitional body’
January 19, 2014
ON BOARD: General Salim Idris, the leader of the western-backed Supreme Military Council, affirmed his support for the Geneva II conference and any solution to the Syrian conflict that includes a political transition shortly after the Syrian National Coalition announced it would attend the conference, set to begin this Wednesday.
“Those who attend Geneva II must adhere to the goals of Syrian revolution, chief among them expelling Assad and his clique from power and excluding them from any role in Syria’s future, and in expelling the leaders of the security and military apparatus that have been involved in killing Syrians and destroying the country.”
He also called for “forming a transitional authority council with jurisdiction over the military and security services.”
The statement followed a poll by the western-backed Syrian National Coalition in which 58 members voted for and 14 against participating in Geneva. Another 44 members, however, boycotted the vote, so that under half of the group’s membership of 119 actually voted to attend the talks.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his administration have repeatedly denied any intent to negotiate a transition of power at the conference.
As immediate goals for Geneva II, Idris named the release of detainees, especially women and children and the opening of safe passages for food and humanitarian aid to blockaded areas in “Daraya, Moadamiyet a-Sham and Yarmouk camp” in Eastern Ghouta, as well as in Homs province.
Powerful, non FSA-affiliated rebel groups inside Syria have repudiated the conference as legitimizing al-Assad.
Islam Alloush, the spokesman of the Islamic Front, denied rumors circulating that the powerful Islamist coalition had decided to attend Geneva II. “The news from the Coalition’s media that Jaish al-Islam will participate in Geneva II is completely detached from reality,” he said.