A boy carries oranges amidst rubble of damaged buildings after an airstrike on a market in rebel held Maarrat Misrin city in Idlib province, Syria January 14, 2017. REUTERS/Ammar Abdullah
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Regime and rebel figures will head to Kazakhstan Monday for negotiations on ending Syria's brutal war, but are arriving with diametrically opposed approaches to the aims of the talks. Damascus has insisted it would seek a "comprehensive" political solution to the nearly 6-year-old conflict at the meeting, while rebels say they will focus solely on reinforcing a frail nationwide truce.The Astana talks, organized by rebel backer Turkey and regime allies Russia and Iran, are expected to last less than a week.During those talks, government negotiator Bashar al-Jaafari and leading rebel figure Mohammad Alloush often butted heads, with Jaafari calling his rival a "terrorist".The truce, brokered by rivals Turkey and Russia, came into force on Dec. 30 and excludes militants like Daesh (ISIS).In announcing their participation in the Astana negotiations, rebels said that the talks would focus on strengthening the truce, while a political deal would be negotiated in Switzerland in February.
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