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Syria Peace Talks Marked by Tense Start

Image: Syria Peace Talks Marked by Tense Start

Participants of Syria peace talks attend a meeting in Astana, Kazakhstan, on Jan. 23, 2017. (Mukhtar Kholdorbekov/Reuters)

By    |   Monday, 23 Jan 2017 02:58 PM

Syria peace talks got off to a shaky start after the rebel delegation and government officials — sitting across the table from one another — traded barbs in their first session of talks Monday morning.

Negotiations, sponsored by Russia, Iran and Turkey, began Monday at a hotel in the Kazakh capital, Astana, according to The Guardian.

The talks represent another attempt to put an end to a civil war that’s lasted for more than five years now.

According to BBC, over 300,000 people have lost their lives as a result of this war and more than 10 million have been displaced.

Representatives from Russia and Iran were present for the talks, as they sat in as supporters of the Syrian government and Syria’s president, Bashar Assad.

Turkey reps sat in the negotiations in support of the rebels.

The talks were closed to the public and media, and they lasted about an hour, according to The Associated Press.

Following the talks, both sides were still in disagreement.

Syria’s U.N. envoy Bashar Ja’afari referred to the rebel delegation as “terrorist armed groups,” calling their comments “provocative” and “insolent,” the AP said.

At the same time, Mohammad Alloush, the head of the rebel delegation, connected Syrian’s government to terrorism with his comments.

“The presence of foreign militias invited by the regime, most notably the Lebanese Hezbollah and the Iraqi Hezbollah…contributes to the continuation of bloodshed and obstructs any opportunity for a cease-fire,” Alloush said, according to the AP.

“There are no direct negotiations first of all,” armed opposition Issam al-Reid said, according to CNN. “The talks will be with the United Nations if the ceasefire is not implemented, particularly in Wadi Barada…in the Damascus country side, and the areas that the regime targets daily.”

“Just yesterday, as is expected before every negotiation, the regime targeted the northern Homs countryside with airstrikes,” Reid said. “We still don’t know which nation’s planes carried this out.”

Reid added that he strongly believes the purpose of the attacks was to cause “this dialogue to fail.”

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Syria peace talks got off to a shaky start after the rebel delegation and government officials - sitting across the table from one another - traded barbs in their first session of talks Monday morning.
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2017-58-23
Monday, 23 Jan 2017 02:58 PM
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