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Peace talks in peril as more Syrians starve

A convoy of aid from the Syrian Arab Red Crescent heads to the besieged rebel-held Syrian town of Madaya, on January 14, 2016Syria’s main opposition body threatened Saturday to quit UN-mediated peace talks before they even get going as the rising death toll from starvation highlighted the dire humanitarian situation in the wartorn country. The High Negotiations Committee (HNC) begrudgingly bowed only late Friday to US and Saudi pressure to at least show up in Geneva to test the waters for joining the biggest push yet to end a five-year-old civil war. “If the regime insists on continuing to commit these crimes then the HNC delegation’s presence in Geneva will not be justified,” HNC coordinator Riad Hijab warned in a statement in Arabic posted online.

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