Lavrentiev’s comments provoked quite a reaction within official opposition circles. Opposition and civil society parties expressed their disbelief at the remarks that came as a severe blow to the constitutional committee process. The comments were unexpected, particularly since the CC was the brainchild of the Russians, born out of the Sochi congress in January 2018. Even those parties that are closer to Moscow were shocked by these comments: the loudest criticism actually came from Qadri Jamil, the head of the opposition’s Popular Will Party.
The Syrian Negotiation Commission (SNC) held a meeting in response (28.12), during which there were calls for the SNC to take a stronger position with regards to their participation in talks in Geneva. However, the majority, led by Anas al-Abdah the head of the SNC, refused saying their withdrawal would provoke criticism from the international community. The SNC then issued a statement in which they said the Russians are contradicting UN resolutions. In opposition to this weak position, the spokesman of the SNC, Ibrahim al-Jabawi, announced his withdrawal from the SNC. Jabawi is a senior figure in the SNC, a former high-ranking officer who defected from the police.