Syrian government, opposition agree to January peace talks

Homs, pictured, has been just one of the many Syrian cities decimated in the 32-month-long conflict. Image courtesy of Freedom House

Homs, pictured, has been just one of the many Syrian cities decimated in the 32-month-long conflict. Image courtesy of Freedom House

After 32 months of infighting between rebel forces and the ruling Assad regime, the Syrian government and opposition have agreed to meet on January 22 at the United Nation’s General Assembly.

The agreement marks the first glimpse of hope for a peaceful resolution to a civil war that has all-but decimated the nation, taking more than 100,000 lives and displacing millions more.

Ban Ki-moon, secretary general of the United Nations, said Monday that the conference was a “mission of hope” to end the civil war by implementing a transitional government with “full executive powers.”

However, the agreement has already seen its obstacles, as spokespersons for the opposition Syrian National Coalition that rebel groups would attend only under certain preconditions– namely, the stepping-down of current president Bashar al-Assad, as well as the release of all opposition prisoners. The coalition has also vowed to engage all of its current rebel groups, including splinter al-Qaeda affiliates, in the peace talks this January.

Nonetheless, the agreement marks a positive note for the U.N.’s security council, which has struggled for months to agree on a comprehensive or even short-term solution to the Syrian civil war.

John Kerry, US Secretary of State, said in a statement: “We are well aware that the obstacles on the road to a political solution are many, and we will enter the Geneva conference on Syria with our eyes wide open.”

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