>> They met to talk about peace, but instead this conference on Syria begun with a grim reminder of what's at stake. Participants at the EU brokered conference on the future of the country, observing a minute of silence for the victims of the conflict. And more specifically, for at least 58 people, including children, killed in a suspected chemical weapons attack on Tuesday.
The Brussels conference comes as serious civil war enters its seventh year. These gatherings have become well rehearsed. The fighting rages on in large part due to the inability of regional and global powers to agree on how to end it. Reuters' Robin Emmott is in Brussels and says the attack has changed the whole tone of the event.
>> The EU and the UN were seeking to present this conference as a small step to show that the peace process was moving forward. And to offer people in Syria hope. There was planning for the post conflict. But this is showing that the war is very, very much going on in a savage way.
>> Britain's foreign secretary Boris Johnson says all evidence of the chemical attack points to Syrian President Assad's regime. His voice in tune with his French counterpart calling on the leader to go.>> I certainly do not see how a government like that can continue to have any kind of legitimate administration of the people of Syria.
>> The French foreign minister said that the attack was a test for the new US administration.>> In some case, it's even more frustrating for the Europeans. Because under the new US administration, there seems to be a confusion about the Trump position. And not much clarification at all on the future of Assad.
>> The Brussels gathering was due to come up with fresh pledges of aid. But any progress on any other issues will likely be marginal especially given who's missing from the picture. Top level officials from Russia, Turkey, and the United States