“Syrian peace talks in Geneva were plunged into crisis”

The U.N.-sponsored Syrian peace talks in Geneva were plunged into crisis Monday after opposition negotiators announced they are delaying involvement in the formal negotiations until the Assad government agrees to discuss the establishment of a transitional administration in Damascus. Their announcement came as the U.S. and Russian brokered “cessation of hostilities” agreement appeared to be fraying fast, with both the government and rebels violating the truce. The Western-backed Free Syrian Army and other rebel groups issued a statement saying they had set up a joint operations room to respond to the violations by government forces and allied Iranian, Lebanese and Iraqi Shi’ite militiamen. As fighting intensified in the Aleppo countryside, international humanitarian organizations warned that the already desperate plight of an estimated 100,000 refugees trapped in northern Syria will worsen. For months, the Turkish government has blocked Syrians fleeing the war from crossing the border”.

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