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    Journalists stand outside the United Nations office in Geneva during the Geneva IV conference on Syria, Switzerland, February 23, 2017

    Intra-Syrian Talks to Gain Momentum After End of Mosul, Raqqa Operations

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    According to a leader of the Cairo platform of Syrian opposition, the ongoing intra-Syrian talks in Geneva can gain momentum and move forward only when Mosul and Raqqa operations are over.

    GENEVA (Sputnik) — The ongoing intra-Syrian negotiations in Geneva can gain real momentum and move forward only when Mosul and Raqqa operations are over, the leader of the delegation of the Cairo platform of Syrian opposition told reporters Tuesday.

    "Yes we need a breakthrough, but honestly I do not think we will reach it in this round of talks," Jamal Suleiman said. "The negotiations will get a real momentum after the battles over Mosul and Raqqa are settled…. This will allow the US administration to come up with its own vision on a political solution."

    "[The Syrian settlement] is not completely intra-Syrian now," he added.

    The UN-backed talks on Syrian peace have been held in Geneva since 2012 with the fifth round having started on March 23. The talks are expected to last until Friday.

    Syria's civil war between government forces and a wide range of insurgents, including opposition groups and terrorists, such as Islamic State (IS) and Jabhat Fatah al Sham (formerly known as the Nusra Front), both outlawed in Russia, has raged for some five years and has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives. In November, the Free Syrian Army (SDF), with support of the United States, launched an operation to retake Raqqa, de facto IS capital in Syria.

    Meanwhile, Mosul, as well as a number of other northern and western Iraqi cities and towns, was seized in 2014 during an IS offensive. The current operation to recapture Mosul, the key stronghold of the IS in Iraq, began in October 2016 and resulted in the liberation of the eastern part of the city this January. However, fighting continues in western areas of the city.


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