A day after the opening of the Syrian peace talks in Geneva, UN officials say that the Syrian government and a major rebel faction have each submitted position papers outlining their respective expectations for a settlement of the ongoing civil war, and looking for any common ground between them.
UN officials wouldn’t say anything about the chances of doing that, but did say that the withdrawal of Russian troops and warplanes from Syria is also bolstering expectations for a “significant development” toward a peace deal.
Syrian rebels threw that suggestion out the window, however, saying their morale is “sky high” after Russia’s pullout, and that they believe an outright military victory is now in sight, on the assumption that Assad cannot survive without Russian involvement.
The expectations for the Syrian talks started pretty low, after a previous round of talks ended in disaster, with both sides arguing with the UN over the point of whether the talks ever actually began at all.
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