New round of Syrian peace talks begins in Geneva

Last round of Syrian constitutional talks ended in March with no signs of whether they would proceed to next level.

New round of Syrian peace talks begins in Geneva

A new round of meetings involving the Syrian Constitutional Committee seeking a solution to the ongoing war in Syria started in Geneva on Monday.

Members of the "Small Group" responsible for writing the constitution, consisting of 15 representatives from the Bashar Assad regime, non-governmental organizations, and the Syrian opposition, met for the eighth round of talks at a Geneva hotel under UN Special Envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen.

The last round of talks for a solution to the war in Syria ended in Geneva on March 25, with none of the parties offering any signs that they would proceed to another level of negotiations.

On Friday, Jenifer Fenton, the special envoy's spokesperson, told journalists that Pedersen was in Damascus last week.

He met the regime's foreign minister, other officials, and their chief representative of the constitutional committee.

"The special envoy then traveled to Turkey, where he met with members of the Syrian opposition. Mr. Pederson is scheduled to brief the (UN) Security Council in closed session next week," Fenton said.

There had been a slight breakthrough during the sixth-round meetings in Geneva on Oct. 18-22, when the Assad regime's delegation co-chair Ahmed Kuzbari sat at the same table for the first time with the co-chair of the opposition Hadi al-Bahra.

'Great disappointment’

In October last year, Pedersen had said that there was "great disappointment" after the failure of the sixth round and criticized the Assad regime by naming it for the first time.

After the seventh round of talks in March, the regime side did not comment while leaving the talks on drafting a new constitution for Syria.

Opposition sources had indicated to Anadolu Agency that "no agreements were reached" on the draft revision on constitutional articles.

Established in 2019 with the support of the UN, the Syrian Constitutional Committee consists of two structures - large and small.

The large structure includes all the committee members, and there are three groups: the regime, the opposition delegation, and civil society representatives.

The large 150-person structure must approve the drafts prepared by the 45-person editorial board, and at least 75% of the members must support a decision for it to be adopted.

The Syrian civil war began when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protesters.

According to UN estimates, hundreds of thousands of people have since been killed and millions more displaced.