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Syrian Rebel Leaders and Assad to Hold Peace Talks

This could be the breakthrough that millions have been hoping for. For the first time, Syrian President Bashar Assad and rebel group leaders have agreed to meet for direct talks at an international peace conference in Geneva. According to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the goal of the Jan. 22 talks is to agree on a “transitional administration” and several other points in a peace plan, originally drafted by other outside nations last year. Though a White House spokesperson warned, “No one should underestimate the difficulties” concerning trying to get the two sides to come to any sort of agreement, the peace talks are potentially the beginning of the end of a horrific conflict that has raged for more than two and a half years. Since rebel groups first began efforts to oust Assad, igniting a civil war, more than 100,000 people in the country—11,000 of whom were children—have been killed. The conflict has also led to the displacement of more than 2 million residents and wide spread persecution of Christians throughout the country …

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