>> Serious warring sides coming together for talks in the Kazakh capital Astana on Monday. But expectations of a breakthrough are low. With Syrian rebels saying they'll only talk to the government side through intermediaries and no senior government figures in the delegations. Both sides to the six year old conflict, flanked by their international supporters.
And at odds over whether Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad, bolstered by retaking Aleppo from the rebels in December, should stay on or step down. The political nitty gritty unlikely to even make it onto the Astana agenda. Instead, baby steps towards bolstering a floundering cease fire, and beginning to overcome mistrust.
Officials from Russia, which back Assad, and Turkey, which backs the rebels, both playing down hopes. The United Nations hoping the Astana talks could jump start direct UN led negotiations. The talks build as, at best, a first step on a long and rocky road.