UN peace talks on Syria finally began today in Geneva, though they opened without any rebel factions participating. That’s going to change pretty soon, however, as the High Negotiations Committee (HNC) has reversed its previous refusal and is going to send some figures to the talks.
The HNC was established last month in Saudi Arabia, following a series of meetings among some Saudi-backed rebel factions. The group is said to represent a fairly broad number of rebel factions, but exactly which is not wholly clear.
The HNC had previously insisted they would only attend if the government agreed to end all airstrikes and release all rebel detainees. There’s no indication any concessions happened since the demand, and no explanation for the change.
The indications are that these are to be “proximity talks,” with no direct contact between the Syrian government and rebel factions. The Syrian government has already arrived, and its negotiators have met with the UN’s special envoy.