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'Sochi' Postponed… Riyadh Conference Ahead of Geneva

'Sochi' Postponed… Riyadh Conference Ahead of Geneva

Saturday, 4 November, 2017 - 05:45
UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura - Reuters.

Syrian opposition groups have already started preparations to guarantee the success of their expanded conference in Riyadh before being hosted in Geneva next Nov. 28 by UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura, reports said on Friday.

Meanwhile, informed sources said that Russia decided to postpone the "Syrian Congress on National Dialogue" which was scheduled in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi next Nov. 18.

Following talks with Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Secretary General Thomas Greminger on Friday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said invitations to the Congress have been sent to all the opposition forces based in Syria and abroad, and to the Syrian regime.

"Many of those invited have already confirmed their participation, including the Syrian government," Lavrov stressed. "This is why the Congress is expected to be quite representative," he said.

It was noticed on Friday that the Russian foreign ministry has removed from its electronic website the list of the parties invited to the Sochi congress, including 33 groups that are opposed or loyal to the Syrian regime.

The sources confirmed that talks have already been initiated between opposition parties and de Mistura’s team to guarantee the success of the Riyadh conference before resuming talks in Geneva.

Separately, ISIS seemed on the way to conclusion after being defeated in east Syria and west Iraq in the last days.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced on Friday that Iraqi forces have liberated Al-Qaim from the terrorist organization while Syrian regime forces were advancing towards the opposite Bukamal city, where ISIS militants currently assemble.

For its part, the Hezbollah-owned Al Manar television reported on Friday that Iraqi forces reached on Friday the main road between the Syrian city of Bukamal and the Iraqi city of al-Qaim, which are both very close.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also quoted several sources as saying that cars and vehicles have entered the city of Bukamal, loaded with ISIS militants.

The sources said that those vehicles were coming from al-Qaim area and the nearby border crossing.

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