Last month, Russia and the United States reached an agreement on the cessation of hostilities in Syria, which took effect on February 27. The truce excluded the terrorist groups Daesh and the Nusra Front, both of which are outlawed in Russia.
The Syrian government has confirmed its readiness to halt its military actions in accordance with the Russia-US agreement. Some opposition forces have been skeptical about the ceasefire, but in general have agreed to adhere to it.
“Our Free Syrian Army is the first one to fight terrorism in Syria. We are willing to have [the] right partners in our war against terrorism,” Meslet said, adding “We also want the Russians to be our partners in the fight with terrorism, but not targeting civilians or helping [Syrian President Bashar] Assad.”
The Saudi-backed HNC wants to establish good relations with Russia, HNC spokesman Salem Meslet told Sputnik.
“We want Russia to do what Russia was doing before, standing beside the Syrian people, and having good relations with the Syrian people, not the regime [of Syrian President Bashar Assad],” Meslet said, adding that Russia is “more than welcome to be very close friends to our country, to our people, and to the future of Syria.”
According to Meslet, the HNC has already had contacts with Russia, having held “many meetings” with Russian envoys.
“We look for good relations with Russia, we want to reestablish the good relationship as soon as the Russian government leaves the Assad side,” Meslet told Sputnik, explaining that “Russia for us is not the Syrian regime. With the Syrian regime, we started indirect talks. But with Russia there is no need of indirect talks, there is need of direct talks, if they prove that they are with the Syrian people.”
The Saudi-backed HNC is willing to come to Russia for dialogue if Moscow stops supporting Syrian President Bashar Assad, according to the HNC spokesman.
“If they [Russia] stop supporting Assad and we receive an invitation, we will go, and we welcome any invitation as long as they really prove that they are with the Syrian people, not with Assad. In the end, we want good relations with the Russian government and Russian people. For us it’s important. We are ready to do it if it helps our people to reach the solution and freedom,” Meslet told Sputnik.
The Swiss city of Geneva is currently hosting intra-Syrian peace talks between the opposition and the government. A delegation created following talks in Moscow and Cairo is one of the two Syrian opposition delegations taking part in the negotiations. The second delegation, the HNC, was created in Saudi Arabia in December and includes representatives of some groups considered to be terrorist organizations by Syria and Russia.
“Our aim in Syria is to have a political transition,” the HNC spokesman stressed in his interview with Sputnik.
HNC is willing to see the establishment of a transitional governing body in Syria with full executive powers, while the government considers it unacceptable.
The current round of intra-Syrian peace talks aimed at putting an end to the deadly civil war that has been ongoing in Syria since 2011 is expected to last until March 24.