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Iran, Turkey and the Syrian National Coalition opposition group speak ahead of "Geneva 2" talks

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Iran, Turkey and the Syrian National Coalition opposition group speak ahead of "Geneva 2" talks

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President Bashar al-Assad’s government has confirmed it will be at the peace talks known as “Geneva 2” in January but stressed it is not going to negotiate a handover of power.

Iran and Turkey who support opposing sides have jointly called for a ceasefire.

“All the efforts must be focused on an end to the conflict and having a ceasefire, even if possible before the peace talks in Geneva,” said Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif

But if Iran wants to play a part in the resolving the crisis it must withdraw its mercenaries. That is the view of the Syrian National Coalition who have confirmed their intention to attend the Geneva talks.

“Iran is a real partner in the killing of Syrian people and if it wants to attend Geneva 2 then it must withdraw its troops, Hezbollah forces and extremist Iraqi fighters. After that it can say they have done all they can and that they intend to attend,” said the President of the Syrian National Coalition Ahmad Al-Jarba.

The continued bloodletting in the conflict which erupted in March 2011 is just one of several hurdles which remain ahead of the talks scheduled for January 22. The full list of those who will take part has not been decided.

Previous attempts to bring the Syrian government and opposition to the negotiating table have failed