Senior Syrian rebel negotiator says will head rebel delegation at peace talks

Mohammad Alloush of the Jaish al Islam faction and member of the High Negotiations Committee (HNC) attends a news conference after a meeting with U.N. mediator Staffan de Mistura during Syria Peace talks at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, April 13, 2016. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Photo

AMMAN (Reuters) - Syrian rebel negotiator Mohammad Alloush said on Monday he would head the rebel delegation to the peace talks backed by Russia and Turkey in Kazakhastan, saying this was to “neutralize the criminal role ” of Iran in the Syrian conflict.

Alloush, a former senior negotiator with the Saudi-backed Higher Negotiations Committee during past rounds of U.N.- sponsored peace talks in Geneva, said their participation was needed to hold back Iran’s militias fighting in Syria.

Reporting by Suleiman Al-Khalidi