Syrian opposition denies any link to activist who spoke at Israeli conference

The man, Essam Zaytoon, presented himself as the "Spokesman of the Southern Front's Foreign Relation Office."

June 20, 2016 13:52
1 minute read.
Herzliya Conference 2016

Herzliya Conference 2016 . (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

The Syrian opposition has officially disavowed the person who addressed the Herzliya Conference that took place last week, claiming to speak on behalf of the Syrian opposition.

The man, Essam Zaytoon, presented himself as the "Spokesman of the Southern Front's Foreign Relation Office." The Southern Front is a rebel faction operating under the umbrella of the biggest Syrian opposition organization, the Free Syrian Army.

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In an interview with the Israeli TV channel i24 that was broadcast live at the conference, Zaytoon said that his participation in the conference is " proof that the Free Syrian Army and the Syrian opposition still exists."

In a statement issued on Saturday, the deputy chairman of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, Samira Musalama, denounced Zaytoon's participation in the conference, emphasizing that he "does not represent the Syrian revolution."

The Southern Front's spokesman, Essam al-Rayes, said that the organization has no office for foreign relations, as Zaytoon claimed.

"Essam Zaytoon represents only himself. We, in the Southern Front, have never heard about him and none of our leaders knows him," al-Rayes added.

"We oppose peace with Israel, and we will never attend such conferences. Our stance regarding the Israeli enemy is clear," al-Rayes said.

Zaytoon was not the only representative of the Arab world who attended the conference. Egypt's Ambassador to Israel Hazem Kairat, Jordan's Ambassador to Israel Walid Obeid and Deputy Chairman of the PLO Committee for Interaction with Israeli Society Elias Zananiri also participated in the conference and called on Israelis and Palestinians to renew peace talks.

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