Syrian peace talks resume in Switzerland amid accusations

Civilians wait to be evacuated from the besieged district of the central Syrian city of Homs by United Nations staf. Peace talks between Syria’s government and opposition forces resumed in Geneva Monday. Photo by AFP/ Bassel Tawil

Newly-resumed peace talks in Geneva between the Syrian government and opposition got off to a shaky start Monday, the AP reports, as both sides traded accusations before even meeting face-to-face.

Separate closed-door meetings were held by the United Nations’ Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi in order to attempt to flesh out an agenda for the coming week of talks in Geneva. The opposition says the aim of talks is to get President Bashar al-Assad’s regime to agree to the 2012 Geneva Communique, which would set up a transitional government that would replace Assad. However, representatives of the government say they wish to focus on halting terrorism–referring to the Syrian rebels fighting against government forces.

A three-day ceasefire, which allowed hundreds to flee the Syrian city of Homs, ended Sunday. The BBC reports that aid groups are trying to extend the truce in the city to allow aid to those trapped by the fighting.

The first round of talks finished Jan. 31, with little progress made between the parties.

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