Conflicts & War

Syrian opposition says gov’t taking a harder line after elections

Nur-Sultan, Jul 8 (EFE).- The Syrian government has become less open to compromise after President Bashar al-Assad won re-election in May, the head of the opposition delegation at talks in Kazakhstan said here Thursday.

“The elections have passed and the regime is tougher because it says it has legitimacy and does not require a new constitution,” Ahmad Toma said in Nur-Sultan during the 16th round of consultations on Syria as part of what is known as the Astana process.

Damascus “hinders all international efforts” to advance the peace process in the country, Toma said.

“For now the situation is not developing as we would like it to, but we do not lose hope,” he said, accusing the Syrian government of ignoring the United Nations and the three nations designated as guarantors of the ceasefire in Syria: Russia, Turkey and Iran.

Toma said that conditions have improved in some northern regions of Syria, such as the rebel bastion of Idlib, bordering Turkey.

“Many Syrians want to move from the south to the north,” he said.

Russia’s special envoy for Syria, Alexander Lavrentiev, said that an opportunity for a “gradual increase of trust” between the Syrian government and opposition was on the horizon.

“It is a long process and it requires the realization of steps by both sides,” he emphasized, adding that Russia is “confident” of progress.

The Syrian government said that Bashar al-Assad, who came to power in 2000 on the death of his father, Hafez al-Assad, won re-election with 95 percent of the vote. EFE


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