Syria rebels, opposition reject Russia-proposed talks

Syrian rebel fighters and opposition groups have blasted Russia's role in Syria, strongly rejecting its proposed peace talks expected next month.

In a series of statements Tuesday, 40 rebel groups, including some of Syria's most prominent, as well as political opposition umbrella groups, said Moscow's proposed talks are an attempt to "circumvent" the United Nations-led process.

Russia's proposed talks are scheduled for Jan 29-30 in Sochi, announced following the latest fruitless round of U.N.-led Geneva talks. The U.N. Special envoy for Syria said he would assess whether Sochi talks would support the U.N.-led political process.

The rebel groups said Moscow has asked the opposition to give up their demand for Syrian President Bashar Assad to step down, while failing to pressure his government to pursue "a path to real resolution."