Syrian Opposition Want ‘Assad Exit Date’ Before Entering Talks

Rebel coalition sets preconditions for Geneva 2 negotiations

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Mohamed Abd El Ghany / Reuters

The seat of the Syrian government delegation remains empty during the Arab foreign ministers' meeting in Cairo November 3, 2013.

A political coalition representing a fraction of Syria’s myriad rebel forces on Sunday laid out their preconditions for participation in a new round of peace talks later this month.

According to a report by Reuters, the Syrian National Coalition’s leader Ahmad Jarba said the opposition group would not attend the “Geneva 2” talks unless a clear timetable for President Bashar Assad’s exit from power was set. The group also stated they would not tolerate the presence of Iranian representatives at the negotiations.

The preconditions seemingly complicate an already dizzying collection of interests and stipulations that have been variously expressed by the U.N.’s envoy, the Arab League, neighboring countries, the U.S. and the embattled Syrian government. Last week, President Assad said no political resolution with the opposition would be possible until foreign powers stop funding rebel groups operating inside Syria.

In October, the Arab League proposed holding talks in late November in Geneva that would aim to end the Syrian civil war, which is entering its third year and has killed well over 110,000 people.