FSA Says Representatives Did Not Visit Moscow

Opposition factions deny allegations that delegates visited the Russian capital for talks

The Free Syrian Army (FSA) has dismissed Russian rumors that representatives of the moderate opposition force visited Moscow for talks, stating that such remarks are a product of Russian propaganda.

Jabhat ash-Sham commander Mohammed al-Ghabi said, "FSA's essential condition for any dialogue is the departure of [President] Bashar al-Assad and his regime, who have shed the blood of Syrian people," adding that the Geneva I principles and mechanisms ensure the application of this condition.

Ghabi denied that any representative of the FSA in the Northern Front of Syria had visited Moscow, adding that if the statements are accurate, the individuals might be regime clients or those who wrongly claim to represent the FSA.

Basil al-Ayham, a commander in the Salah ad-Din Brigade of the Southern Front (a formation of all FSA factions in the south), said that people who participated in the meetings with the Russians do not represent the FSA and that the Southern Front has not met with any Russian officials.

"The Southern Front expressed its position towards Russia as a party in the ongoing war against the Syrian people. It has not and will not be a party seeking a solution,” Ayham said.

Ayham refused to accept Russia’s suggestion for cooperation between the FSA and the Assad regime to enter a transitional phase, designated by foreign states.

“Russia is an aggressor and an occupier, and the FSA will deal with it as its deals with the Assad regime’s army, Hezbollah militia and Iranian forces," the rebel commander said.

Nafie Ghazal, the field leader of al-Faruq Brigades (operating in Idleb in northern Syria), said: "those who met Russian officials do not represent the FSA factions fighting on the ground," adding that "this kind of dialogue only gives legitimacy to Russian interference."

This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer

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