Syria peace talks end on a positive note, says UN

"It was first time we discussed in an acceptable depth the issues of the future of Syria and political transition".

"We expect this [separation] to happen soon", the member of the Russian delegation said, who was present throughout the entire ten-day talks in Geneva as an observer. "There is no doubt that the results achieved so far fall below our ambitions, " Hamzi Monzer said.

The HNC said Wednesday that terrorism could not be added to the faltering talks.

There are still "people in Syria and outside who still believe there is a military option or a military", De Mistura warned, but called such ideas "a fantasy", confirming the UN's commitment to finding a peaceful solution to the conflict which has been raging since March 2011, claiming hundreds of thousands of lives in the process.

Otherwise, in eight days of talks, - the fourth round to be mediated by Mr de Mistura - the warring sides did not negotiate face-to-face, but haggled over the agenda with Mr de Mistura.

The High Negotiations Committee (HNC), which serves as an umbrella group for militants and opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the peace talks, was the main Syrian opposition at the negotiations along with two smaller groups that attended the negotiations under the auspices of Russian Federation. "He has terrorism, but has to engage on transition", one Western diplomat said.

"There is movement from both sides".

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Like Ja'afari, he also expected another meeting with de Mistura on Friday, which will mark a full week of talks, on top of some preliminary meetings. It includes the leaders of opposition factions on the ground as well as political figures living in exile.

The scope of the negotiation is much narrower than a year ago, when de Mistura also had to hear demands for a ceasefire and release of prisoners.

Past peace efforts often failed because of pressure from events on the battlefield and the intransigence of the Syrian regime's representative, Mr Ja'afari.

In parallel, the talks in Astana - convened by the Governments of Iran, Russia and Turkey - would continue to address issues related to the maintenance of the ceasefire and confidence-building measures. The Geneva talks could resume on March 20.

Russia cannot see how the Syrian opposition could be united on the position of the High Negotiations Committee, Russia's Ambassador to the UN and other global organizations in Geneva Alexei Borodavkin said on Saturday.

The military expects the process to be long and hard due to the large number of mines planted by IS, a Syrian security official said on Friday, speaking on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.

  • Adam Floyd