The peace process in #Geneva between the regime of President Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian opposition, under the aegis of the UN, is still at a standstill. It even seems more compromised, in the aftermath of a murderous attack against a symbol of power in Homs that has placed "terrorism" at the heart of the debate.
The Syrian regime promises retaliation
According to the UN envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura, the attacks on the Syrian intelligence services in Homs were aimed at "derailing" the Geneva negotiations, begun three days earlier.
"Every time we have talks, there is always someone trying to derail the process. We were expecting it," he told reporters on Saturday (February 25th).
The Syrian regime, on its side, promised "retaliation" against the Fateh al-Cham group. The former Syrian branch of Al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for the carnage, where 30 to 42 people have been succumbed to death, including a close friend of the Syrian president, Hassan Daaboul, the Homs chief of military intelligence, according to sources.
The regime is trying to block negotiations
"The terrorist attacks that targeted Homs are a clear message in Geneva, and the message has been received and we will not let it pass without retaliation," Bashar al-Jaafari, the head of the Syrian regime's delegation, told reporters.
"The number one priority in Geneva is to discuss terrorism," he said on several occasions. After a meeting with Staffan de Mistura, he added that the Syrian authorities would only agree with the opposition if they were "united, condemned by terrorism and had no foreign agenda "..
Opposition slams the regime
Opponents also accused Damascus of seeking a pretext for ending the political process, "We condemn all terrorist acts committed by all terrorist groups. If the operation in Homs was carried out by one of them, I make it clear," said the main negotiator of the opposition, Nasr al-Hariri. "They are only trying to stay in power. The regime is trying to block the negotiations," he added.