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Mark Rutte

UN-hosted Syria peace talks get off to shaky start

Peace talks aimed at ending Syria's five-year civil war got off to a shaky and chaotic start Friday, with the main opposition group at first boycotting the session, then later agreeing to meet with U.N. officials — while still insisting it would not negotiate.

That small commitment by the group known as the Higher Negotiating Committee came just minutes before U.N. special envoy Staffan de Mistura met with a delegation representing the government of President Bashar Assad.

The developments gave a glimmer of hope that peace efforts in Syria might actually get off the ground for the first time since two earlier rounds of negotiations collapsed in 2014.

The...

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