In this 2012 file photo, Syrian rebel fighter Tawfiq Hassan poses for a picture, after returning from fighting against Syrian army forces in Aleppo. Picture: Muhammed Muheisen, File

Beirut -

Syria's main, Western-backed opposition says it will not attend UN-hosted peace talks in Geneva aimed at ending the country's civil war if Iran comes to the gathering.

Ahmad Ramadan, a senior member of the Syrian National Coalition, says the opposition is “suspending” its participation because Iran is “invading” Syria.

Iran is President Bashar Assad's top regional ally.

Monday's comments by Ramadan came hours after the United Nations invited Iran to attend an international meeting of foreign ministers in the Swiss city of Montreux ahead of the first direct peace talks between the warring Syrian sides.

UN chief Ban Ki-Moon said he invited Iran after lengthy talks with Iranian Foreign Minister Javid Zarif.

Ramadan says “if the situation does not change, the Coalition will not be” at the talks this week. - Sapa-AP