Saudis right to initiate wider Syrian opposition front: paper

ABU DHABI, 10th December, 2015 (WAM) — A UAE newspaper has said that a wide range of Syrian opposition groups are currently meeting for the first time in order to build some kind of common understanding through which they can move forward to meet the regime.

“It is encouraging that this important meeting in Saudi Arabia includes groups from across the political spectrum, including secular nationalists and even some religious groups associated with Al Qaida, as well as some representatives from the opposition that was tolerated by the regime before the civil war started, which may indicate some willingness of President Bashar Al Assad to listen to others,” said Gulf News in an editorial on Thursday.

Only the Saudis could have convened a meeting including the National Syrian Coalition and Ahrar Al Sham. The key is that the religious groups at the meeting have proved willing on the battlefield to work with others. This is in sharp contrast to the terrorist and exclusivist Daesh and Jabhat Al Nusra, who have been excluded from the talks. It is, the editorial suggests, more damaging that the Saudis did not invite the YPG, the Syrian Kurdish group linked to the PKK Kurdish militants in Turkey, who control large parts of northern Syria.

It may be that the Saudis and Turks want to build a coherent group of Arab-Syrians to dominate the emerging opposition front, but the Syrian Kurds need to be included in the near future despite Turkish suspicions, so as to build a robust opposition drawn from all factions that can do a deal with the surviving elements of the Al Assad regime and rebuild a strong and inclusive Syria.