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Cairo group says military option in Syria 'ruled out' after recapture of Aleppo

February 27, 2017, 18:31 UTC+3 GENEVA

However, the High Negotiations Committee believes in military and political solution, the chief negotiator for the so-called Cairo group of the Syrian opposition said

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© AP Photo/Hassan Ammar

GENEVA, February 27. /TASS/. The military solution to the Syrian conflict is ruled out after the Syrian troops backed by the Russian Aerospace Forces retook Aleppo in December 2016, the chief negotiator for the so-called Cairo group of the Syrian opposition told TASS.

"While regarding the issue of the presidency, you have the HNC saying that he (Bashar Assad) should go before transition. I think, their vision is not realistic. In politics any agreement is the reflection of the ground, especially after Aleppo," Jihad Makdissi said.

"I think, the military option is done," he marked.

He said the armed opposition still has significant influence in the High Negotiations Committee. "The first group (HNC) believes, I don’t know, if they still believe, in military solution and political solution," he said.

Jihad Makdissi said he could not say whether this stance remained unchanged after talks in Astana, saying he saw no clear statements pointing to their abandoning the military option. "When I look at them, I see military and politically," he added.

Administrative decentralization

The Cairo platform of the Syria opposition advocates the idea of administrative decentralization in Syria whereas the issue of federalization is a matter of referendum, Makdissi said.

"We are advocating decentralized system. But administrative decentralization," he said. "After you end the war, you ask the Syrians: you want more or less? More - you want federalism, you do it democratically through a referendum, through asking the people. But you cannot impose it during war."

According to Makdissi, decentralization from the point of view of the Cairo platform means local self-rule under a central government. "But this one government is not controlling everything," he went on to say. "We start by decentralizing the administrative system to give people the way to rule themselves and their daily life. And then, once there is a new government, we do it democratically."

He stressed that the Cairo platform is open to all ideas about Syria’s future system but a decision about it can be taken only by way of referendum after the conflict is over. "We don’t want to demonize: ‘Ah, federalism is evil!’ It’s not about good or bad, it’s about how you do it. So, we do it after we have a government, end of the war, peace, stability," he said.

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