New Syria talks without much hope of success
The conflicting parties have been engaged in another round of talks in Geneva aimed at ending the Syrian war since Thursday. UN special envoy Staffan de Mistura had separate meetings with the delegations of the Assad regime and the opposition. The future of Assad continues to be the main bone of contention. Commentators are not very optimistic and appeal to Moscow to use its influence to negotiate an agreement.
Appeals to Assad won't be enough
Russian President Vladimir Putin will lose credibility if he doesn't use his clout now to help bring about a diplomatic solution to the Syria conflict, the Tages-Anzeiger comments:
“Russia should indeed - as it constantly claims - be interested in ending the war through a UN-mediated political solution and creating hope and peace. Particularly given that in Moscow's opinion it is the Gulf states and the Europeans who should cover the costs of reconstruction. But a friendly appeal to President Bashar al-Assad to be so kind as to keep his air force on the ground while the peace talks are taking place in Geneva won't be enough. With the help of Iran and its mercenary army of shi'ite jihadists the regime wants to take a different approach, and after Aleppo also wipe out the moderate rebels in the area around Damascus. Russia can either assert its clout in Syria now - or lose its credibility for good.”
Even direct talks out of the question
Even after six years there is little sign of the conflicting parties being weary of the war or willing to make compromises, Milliyet laments:
“At Geneva IV there is still no indication of the parties softening or changing their positions. As regards both procedure and content, a wide gap separates the various parties. Even the manner in which the talks are supposed to be taking place is a sticking point. The opposition wants direct talks but the regime is against this, refusing to talk face to face with opposition members it sees as terrorists. At the previous talks the representatives of the warring parties sat in different rooms, with UN special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura going back and forth between them. The main task for the experienced diplomats now is to make arrangements for these matters. … Given these circumstances, hardly anyone has high hopes for Geneva IV.”