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For the first time since the war in Syria began six years ago, representatives from the Assad regime and the multiple opposition factions seeking its overthrow met face-to-face in a Kazakhstan conference room in an attempt to arrive at some minor understanding on tamping down the violence.The meeting in Astana was nonetheless better than no meeting at all – as insignificant as the discussions may seem from the outside, the fact that some kind of process occurred is a welcome break from the last nine months of zero diplomatic progress from the parties.Mohammad Alloush, the main opposition delegate, referred to the Syrian government as a terrorist regime intent on destroying anything and everything in Syria if it means keeping power for itself a little longer.The more positive take is that the three major foreign powers in Syria's conflict are trying to ensure that a weak cease-fire regimen lasts long enough for U.N.-mediated, intra-Syrian negotiations to have a fighting chance at producing something substantive and consensual.
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