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Turkish influence in Idlib takes hit as Syria talks open in Geneva

Talks in Geneva between Turkey, Russia and Iran will discuss the establishment of a constitutional committee for Syria, but diplomatic efforts could be torpedoed by developments in Idlib.
TOPSHOT - This picture shows the destructions after govenrment forces' bombings in the town of Al Habit on the southern edges of the rebel-held Idlib province on September 9, 2018. - Russian air strikes on Syria's last major rebel bastion today were the "most violent" in a month since Damascus and its ally Moscow started threatening it with an imminent attack around a month ago, a monitor said. (Photo by OMAR HAJ KADOUR / AFP)        (Photo credit should read OMAR HAJ KADOUR/AFP/Getty Images)

The United Nations' special envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura, began talks in Geneva today with officials from Turkey, Russia and Iran to discuss the establishment of a constitutional committee for Syria, part of a Moscow-led effort to include opposition groups in a negotiated solution to the seven-year Syrian conflict. The talks are expected to last two days. De Mistura is due to meet with envoys from Egypt, France, Germany, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom and the United States on Friday.

The UN official said the aim is to set up a Syrian-led and Syrian-owned constitutional drafting body, paving the way for new elections.

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