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UN battles to save Syria peace talks as opposition walks out

L-R: Opposition members Hassan Abdel Azim, Safwan Akkash, Riad Hijab, Salem al-Meslet and Asaad al-Zoabi attend a meeting of the HNC delegation on April 18, 2016The UN was struggling Monday to keep troubled Syria peace negotiations on track, as the opposition suspended its “formal participation” in the talks in protest at escalating violence on the ground. Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Barack Obama meanwhile agreed to help strengthen a fragile ceasefire in Syria, seen as essential to paving the way towards a lasting deal to end the bloodshed. With fighting surging around Syria’s second city Aleppo and negotiations in Geneva stalled over the fate of President Bashar al-Assad, the opposition said they had had enough.

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