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Syria talks end with no promise

Agence France-Presse . Geneva

A boy holds his baby sister saved from under rubble, who survived what activists say was an airstrike by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Masaken Hanano in Aleppo on Friday. — Reuters photoA boy holds his baby sister saved from under rubble, who survived what activists say was an airstrike by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Masaken Hanano in Aleppo on Friday. — Reuters photo

A second round of peace talks between Syria’s warring sides broke off on Saturday without making any progress and without a date being set for a third round, the UN mediator said.
‘I think it is better that every side goes back and reflects on their responsibility, (and on whether) they want this process to continue or not,’ Lakhdar Brahimi told reporters in Geneva.
Speaking on the final day of a second round of talks that have been mired from the start by blame-trading over the violence ravaging Syria, he apologised to the Syrian people for not making progress.
Meanwhile, the US president, Barack Obama, on Friday vowed to step up pressure on the regime of the president, Bashar al-Assad.
The US leader said both he and the Jordanian king ‘recognise that we can’t just treat the symptoms’ of the Syrian crisis.
Syria’s warring sides were meeting in Geneva on Saturday in a last-ditch effort to save deadlocked peace talks amid fears that they could collapse altogether.
After days of discussions, the rivals stood further apart than ever, seeming to agree on only one thing: that the negotiations were going nowhere.
‘We deeply regret that this round did not make any progress,’ syrian deputy foreign minister Faisal Muqdad said after meeting Brahimi on Friday.
Opposition spokesman Louay Safi agreed: ‘The negotiations have reached an impasse.’
As the parties in Geneva failed to agree even on an agenda for their talks, the death toll mounted in Syria, where more than 136,000 people have been killed in three years.
A monitoring group this week that more than 5,000 people had been killed since a first round of talks began on January 22.
The United Nations warned Friday that more than 2,700 refugees had poured across the Lebanese border as the Syrian army carries out an offensive in the Qalamun mountains and heads towards the opposition-held town of Yabrud.
Thousands had already fled the town, but as many as 50,000 people were believed to still be inside.
Washington expressed outrage at the aerial bombings and siege of the city.




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Syria talks end with no promise

A boy holds his baby sister saved from under rubble, who survived what activists say was an airstrike by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Masaken Hanano in Aleppo on Friday. — Reuters photo
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