UN Syria peace talks restart with fresh format

The US says this round of talks will be more "business like" and more "interactive," after previous negotiations failed to end the conflict now in its seventh year.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura at a news conference ahead of Syria peace talks in Geneva, Switzerland. (May 15, 2017)

Representatives from the Syrian regime and opposition are preparing to begin a new round of peace talks in Geneva on Tuesday.

The UN is attempting to mediate a partial end to a conflict that has killed more than 300,000 people and made millions of Syria's population homeless or refugees, and devastated the country's political, social and economic infrastructure.

UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura on Monday said the agenda includes forming a government, drafting a constitution, holding elections and combating terrorism.

The UN envoy said he was aiming for short and compressed meetings this time in a bid to move the process forward.

TRT World's John Joe Regan has more.

De-escalation does not mean an end to the war

Russia, Turkey and Iran recently signed a document to form four de-escalation zones in the north of the country.

Separately, the regime says that local deals are the best way to end the conflict. 

The opposition rejects the regime approach. But its position has weakened further after Assad and his allies secured the evacuation of three rebel-held districts, bringing them closer to exerting full control over the capital Damascus for the first time since 2012.

The upcoming round of talks in Geneva will be the third since the start of this year.

Previous rounds have all ended without a breakthrough, and the people of Syria will have to wait and see if the latest talks can contribute to preventing further bloodshed.

Daesh is not party to the Syria peace process and, as it controls large parts of Syria, this poses a challenge for any breakthrough in Geneva.

TRTWorld and agencies