Talks in Geneva between the Western-backed elements of the Syrian opposition and representatives of dictator Bashar al-Assad were deadlocked as Socialist Worker went to press.
Assad was refusing to even allow medical and food aid into the rebel-held old city of Homs. His troops have laid siege to the area since June 2012 with daily shell attacks.
It’s estimated that around 500 families are trapped by the siege, many of them starving and in desperate need of medical supplies.
But Assad wants the names of those who might want to be escorted out of Homs—leading rebels there to fear mass arrests.
Western powers want to negotiate a resolution to the Syrian conflict in their own interests. They would like to see Assad departing but a transition government of their choosing taking his place.
They are worried that the rise of Al Qaida-affiliated groups in Syria could pose problems for them.
But opposition forces on the ground in Syria face enemies in both the regime forces and Al Qaida. They don’t want to see Assad’s regime remain with only the figurehead removed.
The talks are no solution to a conflict that began as people marched for freedom.