FIRST AIRED: February 16, 2017

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>> New peace talks between the Syrian government and opposition rebels have stalled on day one. A key Assad negotiator blaming the late arrival of rebel participants for no new breakthroughs. The talks in Kazakhstan's capital Astana brokered by Russia, who support President Bashar al-Assad and Turkey, who backed the rebels, followed a meeting of both sides in January, which reaffirmed a shaky cease fire in the country.
Reuters by route Deputy Bureau Chief Angus McDowell explains.>> Although the cease fire has reduced fighting a bit, both sides have accused the other of numerous violations. The rebels are participating in the Astana talks, but they say they're only there to discuss the cease fire and other confidence building measures and they will not talk about the final political outcome which they say can only be discussed in Geneva under the UN sponsored talks.
>> The next round of talks hosted by the United Nations in Geneva begin next week.>> The UN Syria envoy, Staffan de Mistura, says that the agenda should be based around three points. The first is a new form of governance. The second is coming up with a new constitution, and the third is early elections, under UN supervision.
>> With President Assad in a strong position Raqqa's forces recaptured Aleppo from the rebels in December, and consolidating positions in other parts of the country, there appears little hope a political solution to end Syria's bloodshed is any closer.