TribLIVE

| USWorld


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Assad proposes Aleppo cease-fire, prisoner swap

Daily Photo Galleries

By The Associated Press
Friday, Jan. 17, 2014, 6:33 p.m.
 

Syria's government on Friday proposed a cease-fire in the embattled city of Aleppo and a prisoner exchange with the opposition, a move that appeared aimed at presenting President Bashar Assad as a responsible partner less than a week before an international peace conference.

Assad's opponents were skeptical about the offer, which was put forward by Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem during a visit to Moscow. A member of the main Western-backed opposition dismissed the government's overture as “last-minute maneuvering” to please Damascus' Russian allies, while a rebel commander in Aleppo described such a truce in the civil war as nearly impossible.

The opposition's Syrian National Coalition has yet to decide whether it will attend the peace talks scheduled to begin on Wednesday in the Swiss city of Montreux. Members of the coalition gathered in Istanbul to vote on the group's participation, but the start of the meeting was delayed for at least 10 hours because dozens of representatives refused to show up.

The coalition is under immense pressure from its Western and Arab sponsors to go to Geneva. Many members, however, are hesitant to sign up for a conference that has little chance of success and will burn the last shred of credibility the group has with rebels on the ground, who reject the talks.

Haitham al-Maleh, a senior member of the coalition, said it was inclined to vote in favor of participating in the talks, but the Assad regime “has to leave.”

“We are not obliged to stay there forever. If we find any deviation in the negotiations, we'll withdraw. ... We'll find a way to say ‘goodbye' since it's an issue where there can be no bargaining,” he said.

The meeting in Moscow between al-Moallem and his Russian counterpart, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, was part of a diplomatic push before the conference.

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read World

  1. Mom of Canada suspect: I cry for victims, not son
  2. Canadians more fearful, aware after ‘very rare’ attack in Ottawa
  3. Pope Francis: ‘God is not afraid of new things’
  4. Iraqi Kurds to send fighters to aid Kobani
  5. NATO chases Russian aircraft
  6. ‘Soldier’s soldier’ Army Gen. Austin leads war on ISIS terrorists
  7. Fiercest fighting in days hits Syrian border town of Kobani
  8. Loophole rewards expelled Nazi suspects with Social Security benefits
  9. 2 dead in shooting attack at Canada’s Parliament
  10. American baby killed, 8 hurt as car plows into crowd at Jerusalem train station
  11. Virus traced to mosquitoes in Latin America causes severe joint pain
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.