The U.S. and Russia are among 17 countries meeting in Vienna that are looking to restart talks between the Syrian government and some rebel groups. The aim of the talks is to restore a cease-fire and deliver humanitarian aid to besieged towns. That, it is hoped, will persuade opposition group to re-engage in talks with the government. They had walked out of talks last month after an increase in violence.
Officials and diplomats said the talks, including the United States, Russia, Iran, European and Middle East powers, were unlikely to lead to major decisions that could change the course of the five-year war that has killed more than 250,000 people.
A surge in bloodshed in Aleppo, Syria's largest city before the war, wrecked a partial "cessation of hostilities" sponsored by Washington and Moscow from February, which had allowed U.N.-brokered indirect talks that included the warring sides to take place in Geneva.
Still, Staffan de Mistura, the UN special envoy for Syria, hopes to restart talks between the two sides by the end of this month. The talks do not involve ISIS or al-Qaeda-linked groups operating in Syria.
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