Syria may say on Tuesday if it will attend peace talks-report

BEIRUT - A Syrian government delegation to UN-backed peace talks in Geneva this week has not yet left Damascus and may announce on Tuesday whether it will participate, the pro-Damascus Syrian newspaper al-Watan said.
United Nations Syria mediator Staffan de Mistura said on Monday that the Syrian government had not yet confirmed that it would attend an eighth round of peace talks in Geneva this week, but "indicated that we would be hearing from them soon."
Al-Watan reported on Monday that the delegation had delayed its planned departure to the talks set to begin on Tuesday because of the opposition's insistence that President Bashar Assad step down.
Head of the opposition delegation to Geneva Nasr Hariri has said he is aiming for Assad's removal as a result of negotiations.
Syrian government officials could not immediately be reached for comment.
A breakthrough in the talks is seen as unlikely as Assad and his allies push for total military victory and his opponents stick by their demand he leave power.
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