A Saudi-backed Syrian opposition group says it will take part in the upcoming round of UN-brokered peace talks for Syria in Geneva.
“After consultations, the High Negotiations Committee agreed to go to Geneva. The delegation is expected to arrive on Friday,” Riad Naasan Agha, a spokesman for the group, told AFP on Monday.
He attributed the opposition body’s decision to a decline in the alleged violations of a truce agreement on the part of the Syrian government forces.
The agreement on the cessation of hostilities, which was negotiated by the US and Russia, took effect on February 27 and has led to a sharp drop in fighting in much of Syria despite sporadic violations and mutual accusations of breaches.
“We have noticed a sharp decline in ceasefire violations in recent days and progress in the humanitarian file,” particularly with regards to aid deliveries to besieged towns, Agha said.
“We find that the international community is insisting that all the sides, especially Russia and the [Syrian] regime, must respect the truce,” he added.
He said the HNC hoped that nothing would happen that would prevent the group from participating in the talks.
Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. According to a February report by the Syrian Center for Policy Research, the conflict has claimed the lives of over 470,000 people, injured 1.9 million others, and displaced nearly half of the country’s pre-war population of about 23 million within or beyond its borders.