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Sponsored Syria peace talks resume in Geneva

Sponsored Syria peace talks resume in Geneva

Speaking earlier Saturday, Mistura said the Homs attacks were created to "spoil" peace talks.

At least 35 people had been killed, including the military security chief of the Homs province.

"Combating terrorism is a top priority, " UN Permanent Representative of the Syrian Arab Republic Bashar Jaafari, who led the Syrian government delegation, told reporters following a 2.5 hour meeting with UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan De Mistura. "They were later transferred to Syria and sold in the world market", he added.

In Geneva, de Mistura - hosting the first UN-sponsored talks since April - acknowledged the frailty of the ceasefire, which was agreed in late December.

The Al-Nusra Front terror group, which renamed itself into itself Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, has claimed responsibility for the attack.

UN-brokered Syrian peace talks resume in Geneva on Thursday, but hopes of a breakthrough are dim, clouded by persistent violence and deadlock over the country's political future.

"Spoilers were always expected, and should continue to be expected, to try to influence the proceedings of the talks", the statement said.

"The fight against terrorism should dominate the intra-Syrian negotiations in Geneva", Jaafari said, referring to Saturday's acts of terror in Homs.

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These are the first UN-mediated negotiations on Syria in nearly a year, during which time the military and geopolitical context has changed massively.

On Wednesday, Salem al-Meslet, spokesman for the HNC umbrella group, told the AFP news agency that the so-called Syrian opposition wants face-to-face discussions with government representatives instead of negotiating in separate rooms.

Meanwhile, Syria's ambassador to the United Nations has underscored Damascus' resolve to "retaliate" against the sponsors of terrorists following the Saturday deadly attacks in Homs.

"We do not want this round to be like the last one", he told The Associated Press. "We were expecting that".

The first full day of a fresh round of Syria peace talks began in Geneva Friday as a suicide bombing killed 42, underlining the fragile state of a ceasefire on the ground.

But the diplomatic initiative in the Swiss city — known as Geneva IV following three rounds that failed amid renewed fighting a year ago — comes at a time of new violence on the ground in Syria.

The envoy said bilateral talks would start Thursday morning, and that it remained to be seen whether the two sides would sit down face-to-face - which didn't happen in the three previous rounds of failed talks under his guidance past year.

He took note of the presence of diplomats from the International Syria Support Group, which unites regional and world powers and is led by the United States and Russian Federation.

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