Half of Participants in Riyadh Conference ‘Terrorists’, Ex-Syrian Minister Says
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – A former Syrian information minister slammed a recent conference on Syria held in Saudi Arabia, saying half of those participating in the meeting were representatives of terrorist groups, like Ahrar al-Sham.
“Half of the opposition groups that took part in the Riyadh conference, such as Ahrar al-Sham and Jaysh al-Islam, are terrorists,” Mahdi Dakhlallah told the Tasnim News Agency.
The Takfiri terrorist groups are directly connected with al-Qaeda, he said, adding that the other half are linked with Turkey, Qatar and the Saudi regime and receive financial support from these countries.
He further emphasized that the Syrian government will enter talks with only real opposition groups, namely those not connected with the “enemies” of Syria, implying that Damascus does not consider the participants in Riyadh conference as ‘the opposition’.
On December 8, the so-called opposition groups from Syria gathered in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Two days later, they formed a 32-member council tasked with choosing 15 delegates to represent the ‘Syrian opposition’ in talks with Damascus.
This is while a number of other countries, like Russia, said they did not consider the Riyadh conference participants as representative of the entire Syrian opposition.
Syria has been gripped by civil war since March 2011 with Takfiri terrorists from various groups, including the ISIL, currently controlling parts of it.
Meanwhile, Russia’s recent aerial support for the Syrian forces has given fresh impetus to the fight against the foreign-backed terrorists.
Since late September, Russia has been carrying out bombings against the ISIL terrorists in Syria, after Russia’s parliament granted President Putin authorization to deploy the country’s air force abroad.
In the past four and a half years, more than 250,000 people have died in Syria -overwhelmingly civilians- and around 4 million Syrian people are now refugees in other countries. Around 8 million others have been displaced internally.