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Syrian opposition factions leave Sochi talks before event begins

Published: Updated:

The Sochi talks sponsored by Russia to discuss the Syrian crisis began on Tuesday after a one day delay due to Syrian opposition factions boycotting the event.

The conference, which was originally billed as a two-day event got underway as a one-day event.

An Al Arabiya reporter said on Tuesday that a convoy of opposition factions who are active in northern Syria withdrew from the talks and traveled back to Turkey.

“Our factions received promises and political and logistical agreements prior to Russia,” one of the factions’ representatives told our reporter. “We have not seen any of this in reality since we arrived to Sochi airport.”

The Syrian regime slogans and flag were seen at the venue as well, which cause the conference to have a rocky start as some delegates opposed to President Bashar al-Assad refused to leave the airport on arrival, saying they were offended by the presence of the Syrian state's flag and emblem.

The military opposition asked for the Syrian revolution flag to be hung next to the regime's flag, which did not happen.

Committee to prepare Syrian constitution

The main task of the attendees will be to form a committee to prepare a new Syrian constitution sponsored by the United Nations. It will then be presented to all the different Syrian factions and include a set of recommendations.

Russia’s special envoy to Syria, Alexander Lavrentyev, who is heading his country’s delegation to the conference, said that the final documents from the conference will be presented to the UN to develop on the Geneva process, and that one of the goals of Sochi is to form a presidential committee, a higher committee and a constitution committee among others.

According to the Russian Interfax news agency, De Mistura will head the constitution committee sponsored by the UN.