Syrian opposition asks US for support in fighting Hezbollah ‘terror’ and IRGC

Syria's High Negotiations Committee, HNC, spokesman Salem al-Mislet, right, speaks to the media during a press briefing next to HNC member Riad Naasan Agha, center, during Syria peace talks at the European headquarters of the United Nations, in Geneva, Switzerland, Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016. (© Salvatore Di Nolfi / AP)

A member of the Syrian opposition’s High Negotiations Committee (HNC) has called on the United States to view its rebel groups as a reliable partner not just against the terrorism of the Islamic State (IS) but also Hezbollah and Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard (IRGC)

Speaking to reporters in Geneva on Thursday, Farah al-Atassi said the US was sending contradictory messages regarding Syria and urged the Trump administration to pressure Russia, which is backing the Assad government alongside Iran.

The opposition do not want Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to be part of a transition process nor stand in any future elections, matters Syrian government officials have rejected out-of-hand during UN facilitated negotiations.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on a visit to Ankara earlier on Thursday had said Assad’s fate would be decided by the Syrian people, while US Ambassador to the UN also stated that “getting Assad out” was no longer a priority.

However a White House spokesman contradicted the two officials saying the president had no role in a transition period.

“So it’s unfortunate that we are hearing such contradicting messages from the US administration,” al-Attasi told reporters.

“We would like to see a more decisive role and leadership on the Syrian file, not to see the Syrian file only through the eyes of fighting ISIS,” she added.

The HNC member also said that they had valued the United States as a partner and ally since the beginning of the Syrian crisis and had held a positive meeting with the US Middle East envoy Michael Ratney on the sidelines of peace talks in Geneva.