Syrians see few prospects for peace from Geneva talks

March 12, 2016

Sawsan Sabih, 33, a nurse at a hospital in Maarrat al-Numan, poses for a photograph in Idlib, Syria March 8, 2016. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi

IDLIB, Syria/DAMASCUS (Reuters) – As peace talks are set to get under way in Geneva next week, residents in Syria from nurses to street vendors voice little optimism over the United Nations-backed negotiations’ chance of success.

The Geneva talks will coincide with the fifth anniversary of a conflict that began with protests against President Bashar al-Assad before descending into a multi-sided war that has drawn in foreign governments and allowed the growth of Islamic State.

Fighting has slowed considerably since a fragile “cessation of hostilities agreement” brokered by the United States and Russia came into force almost two weeks ago. The agreement, accepted by the government and most of its enemies, is the first truce of its kind in a war that has killed more than 250,000 people and driven millions of Syrians from their homes.

“The truce has not changed anything in my life. The war planes are still hovering above us,” says Abdul Razzaq Khashan, 40, an aid worker in rebel-held Idlib province. “I do not expect anything from the Geneva talks.”

  • Larry J. Overfield

    Peace at any cost or peace for the sake of peace. Peace at the expense of justice what will that accomplish? Security.

    Those who surrender freedom for security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.”

    Benjamin Franklin


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