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Syria opposition holds conference in Qatar to counter normalisation with Assad

February 6, 2022 at 10:13 am

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (R) meets Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the United Arab Emirates, Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan (L) in Damascus, Syria on November 09, 2021 [UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs – Anadolu Agency]

Syrian opposition factions are holding a conference in the Qatari capital Doha this weekend, in an effort to coordinate a new vision as the world grows increasingly accepting of the regime of Bashar al-Assad.

The two-day conference, named ‘Syria to Where?’ started today and is being attended by a number of think-tanks, civil society groups and independent opposition figures. It is being led by Riad Hijab, a former prime minister under the Assad regime prior to his defection during the Syrian revolution in 2012.

The conference consists of eight sessions that aim to produce recommendations for realising the vision of the Syrian opposition across all factions, particularly in regards to the political, humanitarian and economic crises in their home country.

Its organising committee announced that “This event coincides with the tireless efforts made by the regime and its allies to rehabilitate Bashar Al-Assad, which necessitates a look at ways to address the country’s situation and means of implementing relevant United Nations decisions.” The committee also said that the conference attempts to address and rescue Syria’s political transition.

Qatar calls to halt normalisation with Assad regime

After the Assad regime recaptured much of Syria over the past few years, with the help of its allies Russia and Iran, many in the international community have again begun viewing Assad as the legitimate authority in the country. Some Arab states have recently restored and improved ties with Damascus; they include the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Oman, Jordan, and Egypt.

The official Syrian opposition, on the other hand, is largely divided into various factions and has been pushed to small pockets in the north of Syria, with insignificant military strength in comparison to the Assad regime and more militant opposition groups.

Furthermore, the opposition has increasingly expressed its concern that the United Nations (UN) and the international community is abandoning it and not taking it as seriously as it does the regime, especially in the recent constitutional talks.

The world will regret bringing Assad in from the cold