A Syrian deputy prime minister has said this week that peace talks between the Syrian government and opposition forces could begin next month in Geneva. The United States and Russia have not yet set a date for the talks however, and a spokesman for UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon could not confirm the dates reported in Syrian state media.
Since the start of the conflict two years ago, the opposition groups fighting the Assad regime have divided and multiplied into a variety of groups with different missions and methods of resistance. Extremist groups from outside of Syria, including Al-Qaeda, have moved into the country, radicalizing groups and increasing violence.
So who comes to the table in a negotiation between the Syrian government and opposition forces? Mona Yacoubian, senior advisor for Stimson’s Middle East program in Washington, D.C., explains who the Syrian rebel groups are and how the growing Islamist movements within the country affect the region and the prospects of peace.
Produced by Amina al-Sadi.