Syria peace talks due to end at an impasse

Photo: Syria peace talks due to end at an impasse / Arab World

The first round of Syria peace talks are due to end in Geneva on Friday with little headway made on finding a political solution to the three-year-old war or delivering aid to the country's starving citizens, dpa reported.

A week after negotiations began, international envoy Lakhdar Brahimi said he was "disappointed" in the lack of progress on humanitarian aid, as the two rivals failed to find common ground on lifting the 600-day-old siege of Homs.

Some 3,000 residents have been trapped in the city's old district, where there is an acute shortage of basic supplies and buildings lay in rubble.

The government and opposition delegations are scheduled to return for a second round of talks in February.

Brahimi, who has been mediating the often acrimonious talks, said he hoped that when they do reconvene they will "be able to have a more structured discussion."

The conference, as envisaged by sponsoring powers the United States and Russia, was aimed at forming a transitional governing body in Syria.

Under a framework agreed to in June 2012 and backed by a UN Security Council resolution last year, the transitional body would include members of President Bashar al-Assad's government, the opposition and independent figures, and would have full executive powers.

The Syrian Observatory of Human Rights, a pro-opposition watchdog, says the conflict has claimed 130,000 lives. The UN this month said it had stopped counting the dead, citing an inability to access conflict zones. In July, it put the toll at 100,000.

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