On Sunday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon upset a lot of key players when he invited Iran to a conference on the ongoing civil war in Syria.
“As I have said repeatedly, I believe strongly that Iran needs to be part of the solution to the Syrian crisis.” (Via Press TV)
At issue is Iran's participation in the Syrian conflict. The country has sent arms, money and soldiers to aid the Syrian government. They've also resisted a transitional road map to peace in Syria laid out in 2012. (Via CBS)
That U.S.-backed plan calls for all foreign forces to leave Syria and for acceptance of a transitional government without current Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad.
Because Iran hasn't agreed to those terms, other groups have threatened to boycott the meetings, known as Geneva II, altogether. (Via Jewish News One)
Quoted by USA Today, a senior member of The Syrian National Coalition, the main opposition group, said, "We consider Iran a country that is invading Syria and sending in militia, whether it's Revolutionary Guard or Hezbollah." He added if that doesn't change, and Iran is still invited, the coalition would not attend the talks.
Now that Iran's out of the picture, analysts hope Geneva II can make progress. Fox News quotes a U.S. State Department spokeswoman saying, "We are hopeful that, in the wake of today's announcement, all parties can now return to focus on the task at hand, which is bringing an end to the suffering of the Syrian people and beginning a process toward a long overdue political transition."
So far the three-year-long conflict has killed more than 100,000 people and displaced around 8 million more — and on Monday chilling new accusations against governmet forces came to light. (Via ITN)
The Guardian reports Syrian Government officials could face war crimes charges for the "systematic killing" of some 11,000 detainees.
Those allegations are based on photographs and files smuggled out of Syria which allegedly detail torture and murder, mostly of young men. According to CNN, the documents were reviewed by "a team of internationally renowned war crimes prosecutors and forensic experts."
The Syrian peace talks are set to begin Wednesday, and so far there's no indication President Assad will agree to step down.