UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura (R) and other attendees take part in the plenary session of Syria peace talks brokered by Iran, Russia and Turkey in Astana on May 15, 2018. / AFP / Stanislav FILIPPOV
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The U.N. special envoy to Syria warned Wednesday that a regime assault on the northern rebel-held area of Idlib would be "six times" more destructive than the battle to recapture Ghouta, which fell last month after years of siege.De Mistura described what he called the classic Syrian regime tactic of a bombardment of a rebel territory followed by negotiations and then mass evacuations from the defeated area.The latest round of peace talks, which wrapped up Tuesday, did not however make any concrete progress towards ending the seven-year conflict that has cost 350,000 lives.The high-level talks ended merely with a declaration by the three main guarantor nations of Russia and Iran -- both of which are allies of the Damascus regime -- and Turkey, which backs rebel groups, that negotiations would resume in July in the Russian city of Sochi, but rebel groups said they would not attend.
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