A boy holds carrots at a damaged site after an airstrike in the rebel-held besieged town of Douma, eastern Ghouta in Damascus, Syria, November 27, 2017. REUTERS/Bassam Khabieh
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U.N. Syria mediator Staffan de Mistura said Monday the Syrian government had not yet confirmed that it would attend the talks.From Geneva, meanwhile, the head of the opposition representatives Nasr Hariri said his delegation at the talks is aiming for the removal of President Assad but plans to engage his negotiators in serious and direct talks.The rebels have been forced from all Syria's big cities and their hopes of toppling Assad by military means look finished.The opposition has also accused the government of refusing to seriously engage.Moscow now plans a "Syrian Congress on National Dialogue," bringing together the government and some opposition groups to write a new constitution leading to elections.The main opposition rejects the idea, saying all talks must come under the United Nations.The Syrian government declared Sunday it would support the formation of a committee that will discuss the constitution and is expected to be set up at the congress.This week's Geneva talks will focus on the issues of elections and a constitution, Ramzi Ramzi, the deputy United Nations special envoy for Syria said in Damascus Saturday.
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