SYRIA - SWITZERLAND

Video: Less than diplomatic scenes at Syria peace talks

Heated disputes at the Syrian peace talks, known as Geneva-2, have been caught on camera in two videos shot behind the scenes at the conference.

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Screenshot of a video showing an altercation between two Syrian journalists in Montreux, Switzerland.

 

Heated disputes at the Syrian peace talks, known as Geneva-2, have been caught on camera in two videos shot behind the scenes at the conference.

 

About 40 countries, together with representatives of the Syrian regime and exiled members of the opposition, have been in negotiations since January 22 in Switzerland in an attempt to find a solution to the Syrian civil war.

 

Tensions are running high, and not just among politicians. Right before the start of a press conference on Wednesday, two Syrian journalists had an altercation in English, each one calling the other a “terrorist”. The young woman involved in the heated exchange, who works for the pro-opposition channel Orient TV, accused another journalist of “supporting Hezbollah and Al Qaeda”. This journalist, a Syrian living in Australia, responded that a true Syrian should “wave the official Syrian flag, not that of Jabhat al-Nosra” [a jihadist group fighting in Syria].

 

 

In a separate incident, Syrian activist Rami Jarrah, better known as Alexander Page (FRANCE 24 published this profile of him in 2012), heckled the Syrian Information Minister, Omran Zoabi. The activist, who fled Syria in October 2011, filmed himself while asking the minister, “Who used barrels in Aleppo?” (The Syrian government has been accused of dropping barrel bombs on Aleppo in late 2013).  He added: “Is it the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant? [known as the ISIL, this armed fundamentalist group operates in Syria and Iraq]. Are you fighting against this group? Are you? Answer me! […] Why are you bombing our people and not the ISIL?” In asking these questions, Jarrah insinuated that the Syrian regime is giving free rein to jihadists in order to discredit the Syrian opposition. The Syrian Information Minister ignored his questions.