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6/15/2023 Syria (International Christian Concern) – The Syrian opposition coalition recently called for peace talks to resume with the Assad regime. The UN-led negotiations have stalled since 2018 over controversy surrounding the transitional government.

The statement came from the delegation representing opposition groups—including the Syrian National Coalition (SNC)—at the UN-led negotiations talks in Geneva. Multiple attempts by the UN and other governments to facilitate a diplomatic resolution failed since the civil war broke out more than a decade ago. This comes as the Arab League recently reinstated the Syrian government after removing it due to its repressive response to the 2011 protests.

After decades of repressive rule under former President Hafez al-Assad and his son Bashar al-Assad, the current president, Syrian opposition groups rebelled in early 2011 as the Arab Spring gained traction throughout the region.

The Assad regime responded by deploying Syrian security forces to quell the rebellion throughout the country. Defectors from government forces formed the Free Syrian Army (FSA) in mid-2011, and its civilian counterpart—the SNC—soon gained recognition from the U.S, Turkey, and the Gulf Cooperation Council countries.

The emergence of Jabhat al-Nusra—an al-Qa’ida affiliate—in early 2012 and of the Islamic State in early 2013 turned the civil war into an increasingly sectarian conflict. Disunity among the various opposition groups and support from Iran and Russia allowed the Syrian government to regain control of most of its territory, including the opposition stronghold of Aleppo in 2016. After the territorial defeat of ISIS in 2019, U.S. support for the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) ended after tensions with the Turkish government.

Amid a protracted conflict causing severe social and economic unrest, the approximately 600,000 Christians in Syria face widespread persecution with impunity from the government, opposition forces, and Islamic extremist groups. International Christian Concern (ICC) previously reported on the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that hit northwestern Syria and southeastern Turkey and on efforts to aid suffering Christians.

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