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Russia may use Alloush's participation in Syria peace talks as bargaining chip — expert

Russia can use the participation of Mohammed Alloush, a member of the Syrian radical terrorist group Jaish al-Islam, in the Syria peace negotiations as a bargaining chip to negotiate the participation of the leader of the Kurdish Democratic Union in the Geneva talks, Vitaly Naumkin, director of the Russian Academy of Sciences Institute of Oriental Studies, told TASS on Tuesday.

"An element of bargaining is possible," Naumkin said adding that Russia could demand that Kurdish leader Saleh Muslim be invited to Geneva in exchange for the presence of Mohammed Alloush.

"Russia's position is rather tough. Organizations, which we regards as terrorist, should not participate in the talks. They just should not be there. We do not feel like making any concessions so far," the expert went on to say.

Naumkin ,however, believes that a compromise is not utterly impossible. "For example, these people may announce they have changed their platform or pledge not to call for creating a Caliphate any longer," he said.

"The Saudis keep saying that they [representatives of the Jaish al-Islam movement] have confirmed a certain evolution [in their stance] although it is doubtful," Naumkin stressed. He did not rule out that the involvement of Jaish al-Islam members in the Syria peace talk could be a topic for discussion at the forthcoming International Syria Support Group meeting in Munich, Germany, on February 11.

"Our partners keep emphasizing that this group operates in southern Syria where moderate [Syrian] opposition is dominating. Therefore, everything there is allegedly all right and no one should be touched," Naumkin said.

"In this respect, Jaish al-Islam may become a source for bargaining while we may come under certain pressure," he stressed.

[Source: Itar Tass, Moscow, 02Feb16]

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