UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura (C -L) shakes hands with Syria's rebel delegation chief Nasr al-Hariri (C -R) next to opposition delegation members (From L) Khaled al-Mahamid, Hanadi Abu Arab, Jamal Suliman and Safwan Akash on the opening of a new round of Syria's peace talk on November 28, 2017 at the United Naitons Office in Geneva. (AFP Photo)
DAMASCUS, Nov. 29 (Xinhua) -- After failing to bring a solution to the prolonged Syria war by seven rounds of talks, the eighth round of Geneva talks this time is also not expected to achieve any breakthrough, analysts say.
Since 2012, the consecutive rounds of Geneva talks have failed to produce a solid ground for the solution in Syria as the talks were marred by the intervention of foreign powers in the talks in addition to the fragmentation of the Syrian opposition groups.
Sure, there are developments on the ground that are important and also in the political arena.
On the ground, the Syrian government forces, with the help of the Russian ally and the Iranian-backed troops, have retaken key and large areas from the rebels, including the ultra-radical ones, such as the Islamic State (IS) and the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front.
Their latest achievement was capturing the city of Deir al-Zour in eastern Syria from the IS militants and haunting them down in their last stronghold of the city of al-Bukamal in the eastern countryside of Deir al-Zour near the Iraqi border.
This progress against the terror-designated groups across the country is so important for the Syrian government, whose forces are now on the offense instead of being on the defense in the early years of the nearly seven-year war.
These kinds of achievements have strengthened the position of the government of President Bashar al-Assad, particularly in any given negotiation.
But the foreign-backed opposition groups who were taking part in the previous rounds of talks maintained their stance that Assad must go as a prelude to any political process, which is seen by many analysts as doesn't make sense because the thing that they have failed to achieve militarily will not be taken politically, at least in their outright demand for Assad's departure.
This tone had previously been reflected by Western powers, whose rhetoric has softened in terms of their high demands.
Still, the opposition in exile kept voicing this demand before any round of talks.
This month, the opposition groups have succeeded, for the first time, to attend the Geneva talks with one delegation. However, it is viewed as an ostensible unity, not a real one.
Mahmoud Meri, an opposition figure based in Damascus, told Xinhua that the opposition delegation is predominated by the Saudi-backed Riyadh platform, which is the one with the precondition of Assad's departure.
"Most of the participants are from the Riyadh platform as they have 36 members in the delegation, while the Cairo platform and Moscow platform, which doesn't place Assad's departure as a precondition, have only eight members in the delegation," Meri said.
He noted that Syria-based opposition groups were ignored in this round of talks, saying "the domestic opposition was expelled from participation so the opposition delegation in Geneva doesn't really represent all of the oppositions."
Meri, meanwhile, said the eighth round of talks, which started on Wednesday, will be a "failure."
"The eighth round of talks in Geneva is not expected to bring about any positive results but I think it will be mere meetings with the UN Special Envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura," he said, noting both sides are not expected to hold face-to-face meetings in this round of talks.
The reason behind the pessimism is not only the fact that the opposition delegation is not actually representing all of the opposition groups.
Meri cited the remarks of the head of the opposition delegation, Nasr al-Hariri, who told reporters in Geneva upon arriving there on Monday that his group insists on the ouster of President Bashar al-Assad as part of any peace deal.
He said such announcement ahead of the talks pushed the Syrian government delegation to delay their participation, as they arrived in Geneva on Tuesday, a day after the scheduled date.
On Tuesday, the Syrian Foreign Ministry said the Syrian government delegation arrived in Geneva on Tuesday following "extensive communications" with Russia, which reflect the fact that the Syrian government is still considering the discussion about Assad's departure as a red line.
Muhammad Omari, a writer and political analyst, also voiced the same pessimism.
Speaking to Xinhua, Omari said the opposition's precondition and the delay of the arrival of the Syrian government delegation to Geneva are all indicators that the eighth round of talks will not come out with any positive results.
He added that the eighth round of Geneva talks hasn't changed much in comparison with previous rounds of talks, noting that the opposition delegation is not independent in terms of their ideas.
While the expectations are low, Omari pinned more hope on the anticipated talks in the Russian city of Sochi next year.
He said the Geneva talks are a platform for the powers who are not really interested in the actual solution, adding that the Russia-based meeting is more concerned with finding a solution based on the previous talks in Astana, which produced the de-escalation zones' deal that was supported by Turkey and Iran and helped to reduce the violence in four volatile Syrian areas.
"There is a difference between the Geneva and Sochi talks because the Geneva talks are just an international entitlement and we have seen the extent of the foreign countries influence on the participants in previous rounds," Omari said.
Regarding the Syrian talks in Sochi, the meeting would be an enhanced and developed version of the Astana talks, which produced results on the ground.
"Sochi meeting is designed to achieve results on the political field amid the inability of the international community to find an exit to the Syrian crisis," he said, adding that Russia is trying to translate the military achievement of the Syrian army into victories and visions in the political process.