Syrian rebel group casts new doubt on peace process, seeks missiles

BEIRUT - A big Syrian rebel group said it was unacceptable to talk about a political solution to the war as people die of hunger and bombardment and the best way to force Damascus towards a settlement was to give insurgents anti-aircraft missiles.

The statement from Islam Army (Jaysh al-Islam) underlines opposition concerns over a UN-led diplomatic effort to launch peace talks in Geneva on Jan. 25. The opposition want goodwill measures including a ceasefire, a detainee release and the lifting of blockades on besieged areas before negotiations.

U.N. envoy Staffan de Mistura is shuttling around the region to prepare for the talks, part of a plan endorsed by the Security Council last month to end the five-year-war that has killed 250,000 people and created millions of refugees.

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