Syria opposition to ask UN to pause peace talks: Delegate
AFP, , Monday 18 Apr 2016

The Syrian opposition will ask the United Nations to pause troubled peace talks in Geneva until Damascus shows it is serious about discussing political transition, a delegation member told AFP Monday.

"A small delegation has come to meet (UN mediator Staffan de Mistura) and to ask him to pause the negotiations until the regime shows it is serious about political transition and humanitarian issues," a member of the opposition High Negotiations Committee said.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, he added that the delegation planned to remain in Geneva, for now.

The latest round of talks aimed at ending Syria's brutal five-year conflict kicked off in the Swiss city on April 13 and had been expected to continue until the end of this week.

But the indirect negotiations, which have seen de Mistura shuttling back and forth between the sides, have been marred by surging violence on the ground and dwindling access for humanitarian aid.

A landmark partial ceasefire, which was negotiated by the United States and Russia and took effect on February 27, had dramatically curtailed violence across much of Syria and raised hopes that a lasting deal could be struck in Geneva to end the bloodshed.

But fighting has surged around second city Aleppo in the last week, prompting tens of thousands of people to flee, leading the HNC to question President Bashar al-Assad's commitment to a political solution to a conflict that has displaced half of the population and killed more than 270,000 people.