Main Syria Opposition Condemns ‘Terrorism’ after Homs Attack Kills Dozens

Syrians gather at the site of a double car bomb attack in the Al-Zahraa neighbourhood of the central Syrian city of Homs on February 21, 2016.

(AFP) GENEVA, Switzerland — Syria’s main opposition camp on said Saturday it condemned “terrorism” after the Syrian government demanded all delegations at Geneva peace talks reject terrorist acts or be branded accomplices.

“Our positions are clear in condemning terrorism and terrorists,” said Nasr al-Hariri, the chief negotiator for the opposition High Negotiations Committee, specifically singling out the Islamic State group as well as a former Al-Qaeda affiliate.

The government’s lead negotiator in Geneva, Bashar Jaafari, issued his ultimatum earlier Saturday after deadly suicide attacks in Homs that killed dozens.

“Any party who refuses to condemn these attacks today we will consider that party to be an accomplice of terrorism,” Jaafari said after his latest meeting with UN mediator Staffan de Mistura, who he said should also condemn the attacks.

“What happened today has cast a shadow over Geneva,” he added, saying it was “not only a military terrorist attack it was also a political attack.”

“What happened today will not go unnoticed and we will react to it … The blood of Syrians is precious and those who kill Syrians will also be punished,” he added.

Jaafari vowed earlier in the day there would be “retaliation” for the suicide bombing.

Speaking earlier Saturday, Mistura said the Homs attacks were designed to “spoil” peace talks.

Asked if the attacks would affect the UN-sponsored talks, he said: “I hope not, but it was tragic.”

He added “every time we are having talks or negotiations there is always someone who tries to spoil. We were expecting that.”

The suicide assaults on two security service bases in Syria’s third city of Homs killed dozens of people, including a top intelligence chief, overshadowing the Geneva talks.

Syria’s Al-Qaeda affiliate Fateh al-Sham Front claimed the spectacular assault which targeted and killed General Hassan Daabul, a close confidant of President Bashar al-Assad.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 42 people were killed when the bombers targeted the headquarters of state security and military intelligence in the heavily guarded Ghouta and Mahatta neighborhoods.

Provincial governor Talal Barazi said 30 people were killed and 24 wounded.


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