Seven rounds of talks mediated by de Mistura have gone nowhere. AFP / Fabrice COFFRINI
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The failure of Syria peace talks this week has cast doubt over U.N. efforts to mediate a solution to the country's devastating war, while regime backer Russia has emerged as a key dealmaker, analysts say. The latest round of Geneva-based talks aimed at ending the nearly seven-year conflict, which has killed more than 340,000 people, ended Thursday in failure.U.N. mediator Staffan de Mistura acknowledged that "real negotiations" never took place during the eighth round of talks.The discussions have repeatedly stumbled over the fate of President Bashar Assad, and Damascus is refusing to meet the opposition directly until it drops demands that he leave office.For their part, the opposition and Western diplomats are concerned that parallel Moscow-backed talks are an effort to circumvent the U.N. talks and impose a solution favorable to Assad after major battlefield gains by Russian-backed regime forces.
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