UN Special Envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi has reported today that the joint US-Russian efforts to start Syrian peace talks have borne fruit, and that Syria’s government and rebels are preparing for June peace talks.
The talks haven’t been specifically dated yet, but will take place in Geneva, according to Brahimi. He dubbed the meeting “Geneva 2,” a reference to the previous Geneva Plan from last summer.
The announcement suggests a major change in at least some part of Syria’s rebellion, as earlier this month they had angrily rejected the calls for talks, saying there was nothing to talk about unless Syrian President Bashar Assad resigns unconditionally. Syrian rebel factions are due to meet in Istanbul on Thursday, and the announced change is expected to come then.
Still, it remains to be seen who in the rebellion is on board now, and whether the talks will give way to any sort of ceasefire in anticipation of a settlement. At present the fighting shows no signs of letting up.