Syria opposition in Riyadh aims to form united front

By Lizzie Porter, al-Jazeera

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Baghdad, Iraq – Syria peace talks have become a parallel saga to the suffering and violence that continues in the country, where 6.3 million people remain internally displaced, and more than 470,000 have lost their lives in more than seven years of fighting.

The issues surrounding negotiations are complex and multi-layered, with a major sticking point that opponents of President Bashar al-Assad – the Saudi-backed High Negotiation Committee (HNC), and the Cairo and Moscow platforms – have failed to form a united front to challenge his government …

The YPG have had an ambiguous relationship with the government, refusing to fight alongside Syrian opposition groups against it. That history indicates how Damascus might seek to build up influence in the Kurdish “Rojava” area of northern Syria, without using military force.

“The regime has perfected the art of salami-slicing its way back into control, when it is given an opening into zones that slipped from its control,” said Kyle Orton, a research fellow at the London-based Henry Jackson Society think-tank …

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