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Shelling continues despite new round of Syria peace talks

Shelling continues despite new round of Syria peace talks
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By Euronews
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The latest round of peace talks begin in Geneva. The Syrian opposition is calling for a political solution within six months

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Dozens of mortar bombs landed on the last major rebel stronghold near the Syrian capital Damascus despite a 48-hour truce designed to coincide with the start of peace talks in Geneva.

Meanwhile the various parties arrived for the new round of UN-brokered talks including the Syrian government's negotiator Bashar al-Ja'afari.

The talks are meant to cover four basic issues: elections, governance, the constitution and fighting terrorism.

The opposition's representative Nasr al-Hariri was clear what he wanted from the talks:

"We want more pressure on the regime to continue in the, to engage in the negotiation and to continue in the negotiation to reach a political solution in six months."

Syria's civil war is now in its seventh year and previous rounds of negotiations made virtually no progress, with no direct contact between the opposing delegations, who took turns to meet UN mediator Staffan de Mistura.

The Syrian government delegation has always rejected the opposition's demand that President Bashar al-Assad leave power, calling them "terrorists" who lacked the legitimacy to negotiate.

These latest talks are supposed to last until December 15, but there is little optimism for progress.

One positive - a UN humanitarian convoy has managed to deliver health and nutrition supplements to 15,000 people in east Ghouta.

It's the first inter-agency convoy to the area since August. Some 150,000 people have been living under siege since mid 2013 and aid workers have expressed deep concern over food supplies.

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