U.N. deputy special envoy for Syria, Ramzy Ezzeldin Ramzy talks to press in Damascus, Syria May 13, 2017. REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki
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A new round of Syrian peace talks opens in Geneva Tuesday, overshadowed by a competing process in Astana and with rebels reeling from a major setback in Damascus.Since it broke out in March 2011, Syria's conflict has killed more than 320,000 people, displaced millions and ravaged the country's economy and infrastructure.Efforts to end the war are now proceeding along two rival tracks: the formal political peace process hosted at United Nations headquarters in Geneva and, since January, parallel talks in Kazakhstan brokered by Russia, Iran and Turkey.Delegations are expected to arrive in Geneva Monday, a day before the talks start.The HNC has continued to call for the ouster of President Bashar Assad as part of a political transition, a demand seen as a non-starter by the Syrian regime.Syrian peace efforts have also been marked in recent months by Washington's all-but withdrawal from the process under President Donald Trump.
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