Syria adds opposition peace talks delegates to 'terrorist list'

GENEVA Sat Feb 15, 2014 11:58am EST

Louay Safi, spokesperson for the Syrian National Coalition, addresses a news conference at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva February 14, 2014. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

Louay Safi, spokesperson for the Syrian National Coalition, addresses a news conference at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva February 14, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Denis Balibouse

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GENEVA (Reuters) - Syria has added opposition delegates at peace talks in Geneva to a "terrorist list" and seized their assets, including the house of one of them, anti-government negotiators and a diplomat said on Saturday.

The opposition delegation only learnt of the decision when a copy of the Justice Ministry decision was leaked this week to the opposition website, the sources said.

The memorandum, issued by the Justice Ministry, says the assets had been frozen under a 2012 anti-terrorism law.

The decision will further antagonize opposition members and their international backers after a second round of negotiations failed on Saturday to achieve any meaningful gains beyond an agreement to meet again at an unspecified date.

One diplomat said the opposition negotiators had discovered a few days ago that most of them were on a "terrorism list" of 1,500 activists and rebels opposed to President Bashar al-Assad.

"When (opposition member) Suhair al-Atassi saw her name she realized she had lost her house. A tear dropped from her eye for a moment and she then returned to her combative self," said the diplomat, who was meeting the opposition negotiators in Geneva.

Asked why Damascus had put members of the opposition Nation Coalition umbrella group on its terrorism list and frozen their bank accounts, Syrian government delegate Bashar al-Jaafari said: "You are trying to terrorize me and you won't succeed."

He said the decision was made two months before the Geneva talks began. "This has nothing to do with the Geneva conference. Whoever refuses to fight terrorism is part of terrorism."

Members of the National Coalition make up the bulk of the opposition delegation to the talks, which opened on January 22.

One delegate, Ahmad Jakal, said: "The regime wants to prove it can get to us personally. In its sick thinking, anyone who opposes it is a traitor and terrorist."

(Editing by Alistair Lyon)

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Comments (8)
sabrefencer wrote:
Assad smells blood..his handlers from Putin, tell him, he can do anything…. as the west and Americans are Assad, Russia and Iran, push the envelop anytime that they can in Syria….this is a test, to measure what will happen, when Iran turns around and says…surprise Obama and friends..we NOW have the nukes..what are you going to do about it???????????? cry havoc?

Feb 15, 2014 2:11pm EST  --  Report as abuse
RobertFrost wrote:
If the Syrian Justice Ministry did really add the name of the self-styled “opposition delegates” to the list of terror suspects, it would have been published and does not need to be leaked.

The Syrian government demonstrated a much higher level of sophistication in its foreign affairs handling than to commit this perfectly unnecessary move.

So, one adds this to the other “breaking news” that followed the previous meeting in Geneva, in the first meeting, this one, and almost certainly the following ones.

Feb 15, 2014 2:56pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Tiu wrote:
Par for the course. If you’re involved with shooting, bombing and revolution against any government then it’s not too surprising if you end up on a terrorist list.

Feb 15, 2014 6:26pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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