UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura. Photo: AP/file
GENEVA, Switzerland – The fourth round of UN-sponsored talks between the Syrian government and the country’s opposition parties will begin on February 23, though delegates have not yet been officially invited.
Delegates will arrive in Geneva on February 20 to hold informal talks before the official discussions begin on February 23, the spokesperson for the UN’s envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, told Rudaw.
Invitations to the talks have not been issued yet, however.
According to information obtained by Rudaw from Damascus, the Syrian government’s delegation will be headed by Bashar Jafar. A Kurdish member of the Syrian parliament, Omar Ose, will accompany the government’s delegation.
The Syrian opposition will send 21 delegates and will be headed by Nasr al-Hariri. Fouad Aliko, a member of the Kurdish National Council (KNC, ENKS) will head the Kurdish representation within the opposition groups.
Opposition groups had disputed the inclusion the dominant Kurdish parties in northern Syria, the Democratic Union Party (PYD), and the armed Peoples’ Protection Units (YPG). Russia has pushed for the Kurdish parties to be included, while Turkey and other opposition groups have objected. Turkey considers the PYD and YPG terrorist organizations and opposition groups accuse the Kurdish parties of having ties to Damascus.
De Mistura had previously indicated that he would select members of the opposition if they could not agree on their delegation.