The delegation, led by Bashar al Jaafari, returned to Damascus on Friday without confirming whether they would return, given their concerns at opposition demands. Syrian media on Thursday reported they would.

Syrian Ambassador to the United Nations and head of the regime delegation Bashar al Jaafari (C) at the UN-led Syria peace talks in Geneva, Switzerland, November 30, 2017.
Syrian Ambassador to the United Nations and head of the regime delegation Bashar al Jaafari (C) at the UN-led Syria peace talks in Geneva, Switzerland, November 30, 2017. ( Reuters )

Syrian regime leader Bashar al Assad's negotiating team is set to arrive in Geneva on Sunday to continue taking part in UN-brokered peace talks, Syria's state news agency SANA reported on Thursday, quoting a foreign ministry source.

The delegation, led by Bashar al Jaafari, returned to Damascus last Friday without confirming they would return. Negotiations resumed on Wednesday without the regime delegation.

The talks began last week and after a few days with little apparent progress, the UN mediator Staffan de Mistura said that the regime delegation was returning to Damascus to "consult and refresh."

The regime delegation blamed its departure on what it considers the opposition's uncompromising stance on Assad's future. Last month, the opposition drew up a statement in a meeting in Riyadh that rejected any future role for Assad in Syria.

During last week's sessions, de Mistura shuttled between the representatives of the two sides, who did not meet face-to-face. He had planned to continue the round until December 15.

The opposition negotiating team arrived at the UN offices in Geneva on Wednesday morning to resume talks with de Mistura.

France accused the Syrian regime on Wednesday of obstructing the peace talks with its refusal to return to Geneva and called on Damascus' ally Russia not to shirk its responsibility to get the regime back to the negotiating table.

Source: Reuters