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World Turns To Syria Peace Talks On Heels Of Iran Deal, Internet Skeptical

Just two days after signing an interim Iran nuclear deal, diplomats announced Syrian peace talks will begin in Geneva on January 22. But skepticism remains.

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Syrian government and opposition leaders are set to hold peace talks in Geneva on January 22, the United Nations announced today. The long awaited international peace conference, dubbed Geneva 2, will be the first meeting between Syrian government and opposition forces since the conflict's outbreak 32 months ago. Diplomats are expected to discuss the formation of a transitional governing body, including political and military powers.

In statements, UN leader Ban Ki-moon called the Geneva 2 conference "a mission of hope." Foreign Secretary John Kerry also praised the peace talks as the "best opportunity" to form a transitional government. American and Russian diplomats are also meeting today with Lakhdar Brahimi, U.N. and Arab League envoy to Syria, to discuss the negotiations.

Many political commentators remained preoccupied with Saturday's news of the Iran nuclear deal, but on Twitter the particular timing of the Geneva 2 announcement raised both skepticism and hope.

"The beginning of this week has been good: yesterday the nuclear deal with Iran, and today the date for Geneva 2 is scheduled. Has the world begun to realize the importance of peace?"

بداية هذا الأسبوع بداية جيدة فأمس تم الاتفاق النووي مع ايران واليوم حدد موعد جنيف٢، هل بدأ العالم يدرك أهمية السلام؟

السيد محمد الشوكي

@alshwki

بداية هذا الأسبوع بداية جيدة فأمس تم الاتفاق النووي مع ايران واليوم حدد موعد جنيف٢، هل بدأ العالم يدرك أهمية السلام؟

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"America announced yesterday that Geneva 2 is set for January 22, and this is evidence that their agreement yesterday with Iran is not just nuclear, but for all the Middle East."

اعلان امريكا اليوم ان موعد جنيف ٢ سيكون في ٢٢يناير وهذا دليل ان اتفاقهم امس مع ايران ليس فقط نوويا بل في كافه محطات الشرق الاوسط

احمد فقيهي

@alfaqihi1404

اعلان امريكا اليوم ان موعد جنيف ٢ سيكون في ٢٢يناير وهذا دليل ان اتفاقهم امس مع ايران ليس فقط نوويا

بل في كافه محطات الشرق الاوسط

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"The date for Geneva 2 was not set until after the Iran agreement, and therefore the nuclear agreement is transiently for Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon, and really all for Israel's sake."

لم يتم تثبيت موعد جنيف ٢ إلا بعد اتفاق مع إيران، ولذلك فإن الاتفاق النووي هو عابر للعراق وسوريا ولبنان، وكله لمصلحة إسرائيل .

عامر الكبيسي

@amer_alkubaisi

لم يتم تثبيت موعد جنيف ٢ إلا بعد اتفاق مع إيران، ولذلك فإن الاتفاق النووي هو عابر للعراق وسوريا ولبنان، وكله لمصلحة إسرائيل .

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Others took a more overtly satirical stance to express their disillusionment with the prospects of diplomacy to turn the tides of the conflict.

Assad continues to prepare for #Geneva2 “peace” talks. This was Karm Al-Beik in #Aleppo today! #Syria

Syrian Revolution

@RevolutionSyria

Assad continues to prepare for #Geneva2 “peace” talks. This was Karm Al-Beik in #Aleppo today! #Syria

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Picture on the right: "This is what Syrians think about Geneva 2." Picture on the left: "But this is how it really will be."

Diplomats have continually postponed peace talks because of disagreements over which parties and countries would take part and who they would represent. Syria watchers were quick to note that Monday's announcement did not clarify whether Iran, which has been a critical shaper of the Syrian conflict, would be invited to participate.

In a press conference following the announcement, Brahimi said that a decision had not yet been made whether Iran, and others like Saudi Arabia, would attend. Iran has yet to agree to the Geneva Communiqué of 30 June 2012, which was developed during preliminary negotiations last year, and will serve as the basis of the Geneva 2 conference. Bashar al Assad's presence has been another sticking point; some Syrian factions have called for Assad to agree to resign as a prerequisite for their attendance. The Syrian opposition has also been weekend by infighting between its leadership.

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Count me skeptical Brahimi can stick to Jan. 22 date for Geneva 2: No list of participants, Syrian coalition demands not met, Saudi furious.

DavidKenner

@DavidKenner

Count me skeptical Brahimi can stick to Jan. 22 date for Geneva 2: No list of participants, Syrian coalition demands not met, Saudi furious.

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While ridiculous not 2have #Iran attend #Syria talks, they must first officially accept Gevena 1 framework. #Geneva2

Randa Slim

@rmslim

While ridiculous not 2have #Iran attend #Syria talks, they must first officially accept Gevena 1 framework. #Geneva2

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We can keep debating about the importance of #Iran at Geneva II, but without #Syrian women at the table all negotiations are shortsighted.

Rafif Jouejati

@RafifJ

We can keep debating about the importance of #Iran at Geneva II, but without #Syrian women at the table all negotiations are shortsighted.

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Meanwhile, the fighting in Syria has continued. An estimated 120,000 Syrians have died, 9 million have been displaced, and over 2 million have fled to live in refugee camps, like the Za'atari camp in neighboring Jordan.

View this video on YouTube

Via youtube.com

More than 11,00 children have died in the conflict so far, including 128 by alleged chemical weapons attacks, according to a new report by the Oxford Research group.

Top of the Morning: 11,000 Children Killed in Syrian Civil War http://t.co/H8o9pHK7yn

Blogs of War

@BlogsofWar

Top of the Morning: 11,000 Children Killed in Syrian Civil War http://t.co/H8o9pHK7yn

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Activists say it is numbers like these, rather than political power disputes, which should be serving as the impetus for peace negotiations.

1 million child refugees. 4 reasons we need Syria Peace Talks now http://t.co/U0XTVwvqAG #ceasefire #Geneva2

Oxfam International

@Oxfam

1 million child refugees.

4 reasons we need

Syria Peace Talks now

http://t.co/U0XTVwvqAG

#ceasefire

#Geneva2

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Former BuzzFeed World Reporter, Current BuzzFeed News Contributor

Contact Miriam Berger at miriam.berger+done@buzzfeed.com.

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