The Syrian government and opposition members converged on Moscow to discuss humanitarian issues in the war torn country. Syria entered the fourth year of the civil war in March.
However, the three groups do not believe any agreement will form, since the “main opposition group continues to boycott the talks.” The Syrian National Coalition (SNC) announced they will only attend the talks if President Bashar al-Assad vacates his position. Russia is one of Assad’s few allies left in the world.
Randa Kassis, a former member of SNC, switched to the Movement of Pluralistic Society after radical jihadist groups rose in Syria. The Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) captured northern Syria for their caliphate, including the major city of Raqqa. Now Kassis wants to speak with the government in Damascus.
“We won’t get to a political transition without slowly giving and taking,” claimed Kassis.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that officials “released 650 prisoners from at least three prisons in Damascus on March 25-27.” The prisoners included women and children. The National Coordination Committee, a Syrian group based in Moscow, claimed the move is “not enough.”
“We’ll see what the government delegation comes up with, including on the humanitarian front, but I am not hopeful for anything special,” said one representative from the group. “It’ll be more of a continuation of dialogue at best.”
The war has killed over 220,000 people so far and casualties continue to occur. Clashes between ISIS and Palestinian militants erupted on April 1, “which caused hundreds of residents of a refugee camp near Damascus to flee.” On Sunday, the fighting died down after midnight, which allowed the residents to leave. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that ISIS “and al-Nusra Front gained control of about 90 percent of the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp.” The clashes killed at least 26 people.
UNRWA, the United Nations for Palestinian refugees, “issued an urgent plea for humanitarian access to the Yarmouk district. The agency supported 94 civilians within the camp, “including 43 women and 20 children.”