Second round of Syria peace talks have started
Monday, February 10, 2014
GENEVA - The second round of peace talks aimed at resolving the ongoing crisis in war-torn Syria between the Syrian regime and the opposition will begin on Monday in Geneva, Switzerland.
The Syrian regime and opposition held direct talks in January exchanging accusations with no solid agreement. However, UN mediator Lakhdar Brahimi said then the sides had reached some "common ground."
The Syrian opposition demands a future without President Bashar al-Assad while the regime insists on fighting terrorism.
Hundreds of Syrians were evacuated from the old city of Homs last week as part of a three-day truce agreed in the first round of direct talks.
Homs has been under siege for over a year, with recent reports citing incidents of starvation, as people are forced to eat street animals and grass to survive.
The first round of the talks, the so-called "Geneva II," opened in Switzerland on January 22.
They wrapped up January 31 without reaching a deal.
The earlier "Geneva I" talks were initiated in 2012 by Kofi Annan, who was then the UN peace envoy to Syria.
Syria has been in the throes of conflict since 2011 when a peaceful uprising against President Bashar al-Assad escalated into civil war following a violent government crackdown.
According to the UN, more than 100,000 people have been killed in the conflict to date and more than 6.5 million people have been internally displaced. Over two million are now registered as refugees in neighboring Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq.
Copyright © 2014 Anadolu Agency