Syria peace talks resume as violence surges


GENEVA: A new round of peace talks to end Syria’s five-year civil war is set to begin in Geneva on Wednesday, as a surge in violence in northern Aleppo province threatened a fragile truce. The United Nations-brokered talks are aimed at forming a transitional government followed by general elections to end a conflict that has killed more than 270,000 people and displaced half of the country’s population. The fate of President Bashar al-Assad remains a stumbling block, and UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura has held meetings with Assad’s key allies Tehran and Moscow ahead of a sit-down with the main opposition High Negotiations Committee Wednesday and regime representatives later in the week.



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