Shaky start to Syria peace talks in Russia as opposition delegates refuse to leave Sochi airport

A Russian-organised peace conference aimed at ending the war in Syria got off to a shambolic start on Tuesday, after dozens of opposition delegates refused to leave the airport in Sochi and others backed out at the last minute.

Moscow, a staunch Bashar al-Assad ally, is hosting what it has called a Syrian Congress of National Dialogue in the Black Sea resort that it hopes will launch negotiations on drafting a new constitution for Syria after almost seven years of war.

But the conference, which is running in parallel to United Nations-negotiated talks, looked in jeopardy after more than 70 rebel delegates refused to leave the airport until all logos and emblems representing the government were…

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