Syria Talks: UN to Host Unified Opposition for First Time

The United Nations will be hosting on Tuesday a unified Syrian opposition in Geneva for the first time as the body’s eighth round of peace talks opens in a bid to end the six-year conflict.

The UN-brokered talks have achieved little since fighting broke out in 2011, but progress now looks possible with a unified opposition and the emergence of Russia as the key deal-maker.

UN peace envoy Staffan de Mistura, who describes himself as a “chronic optimist”, has voiced hope that this round of talks will mark the first “real negotiation”. For real progress to be achieved, however, the rival sides will need to overcome the hurdle that has derailed past discussions: the fate of Syrian president Bashar Al Assad.

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