Khoja Blasts Russia, Urges Nusra to Cut Ties With Al-Qaeda

Opposition leader denounces Russian attacks on Syrian civilians, while calling on Al-Qaeda's Syrian wing to sever its alliance with the radical Islamist group

Russian aggression has targeted civilians in Deir-ez-Zor instead of Islamic State (ISIS) positions, causing dozens of civilian casualties, including women and children, Syrian National Coalition President Khaled Khoja revealed.

At a press conference held Monday, Khoja extended condolences to the families of the victims the Russian attacks in all Syrian cities, including Deir-ez-Zor, Daraa, Aleppo and Damascus.

Khoja explained that Russia recently stepped up its air raids on rural Lattakia, Aleppo, Daraa and Douma, killing 2,977 civilians across Syria since the start of its operations 53 days ago. The opposition leader said that three schools, 14 hospitals, a pharmaceutical plant and food factory were also targeted by the Russian air force.

President Khoja added that barely 6 percent of Russia’s overall air strikes on Syria have targeted ISIS locations, warning that the refugee crisis will worsen if the Russian aggression continues.

Khoja also called on the Nusra Front to dissociate itself from Al-Qaeda, at a time when terrorist attacks have rocked Mali, Turkey, France, and Lebanon. He also urged all Syrian rebel factions to adopt the national path that the revolution states, stressing that the Free Syrian Army rejects terrorism in all its types.

The head of Syria’s main political opposition also announced Coalition representatives were invited to attend the upcoming Riyadh conference, commending the role played by Saudi Arabia in realizing the Syrian people’s demands. He added that the Syrian Coalition seeks to make the conference successful and will reach out to the rest of the revolution institutions and civil society organizations.

President Khoja reaffirmed the Coalition’s commitment to a political solution in accordance with the Geneva I Communique, emphasizing that any political solution in Syria cannot include President Bashar al-Assad and his ruling elite.

This article was edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.

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