Today the seventh round of UN-backed peace talks between the Syrian government and opposition begins in Geneva. Delegates will focus
Today the seventh round of UN-backed peace talks between the Syrian government and opposition begins in Geneva. Delegates will focus on four topics that have proven to be intractable: a political transition, a new constitution, elections and combatting terrorism.
The talks hope to build off progress made last month when both sides agreed to establish four de-escalation zones in areas contested between the Syrian regime and opposition. Nonetheless, representatives at Russian and Turkish sponsored talks last week in Astana failed to reach an agreement over military administration of these zones. The opposition strongly opposes Iranian and Russian oversight while the regime is likewise suspicious of Western military supervision.
At the G20 summit United States and Russia jointly announced a US-Russian-Jordanian brokered agreement to support the safe zones. Yesterday, an open-ended ceasefire went into effect in the southwestern de-escalation zone surrounding city Daraa on the Jordanian border.
But the question of military supervision of the safe zones remains unresolved. While the Geneva talks are focused on the future of political transition in Syria, they will accomplish little unless the safe zones can establish the first step of slowing the violence between the regime and opposition