Deadlock reigns over Syria on last day of Geneva talks

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The mother of a British doctor who died in Syria angrily confronted the country’s official delegation at the Geneva talks.

Fatima Khan claims her son Abbas was trying to help bomb victims by travelling to Aleppo, where he was detained.

He was due to be released from jail but was found dead. Damascus alleges he committed suicide. His family claim he was the victim of a political murder.

“Face me,” Fatima Khan shouted in the direction of President al-Assad’s adviser Bouthaina Shaaban. “She’s running away from me, she can’t face me.”

The first round of talks ends on Friday with precious little to show.

‘‘No, there was progress today in fact,” Shaaban told reporters. “Because we spoke about the Syrian people who care about ending terrorism. And the opposition’s rejection of a document condemning terrorism in Syria is outrageous, it shows that they support terrorism and have no qualms about it.’‘

The opposition is sticking to its demand that the starting point should be the formation of a transitional governing body.

‘‘The regime wants to focus on six points of Geneva communiqué at this point, and leave the formation of a governing body to the end. We believe this is a wrong sequence, that is putting the cart before the horse,’‘ said Syrian National Coalition spokesman Louay Safi.

The talks began with few expectations; even so the UN mediator is frustrated that no agreement has been reached even on getting an aid convoy through the besieged city of Homs.

There was better news for the trapped residents of one poor Damascus suburb. The UN says the first food parcels for ten days were delivered.

But it is by no means enough. Some 15 people have reportedly died from malnutrition in Yarmouk, a district of the capital that was once a Palestinian refugee camp but has become an impoverished district home to Palestinians and Syrians alike.

The UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) had blamed authorities on Sunday for preventing its convoy from delivering aid to the neighbourhood.

Opposition activists said the government is using hunger as a weapon of war. The Syrian government said rebels are to blame for firing on aid convoys and fears food and medicine will go to armed groups.

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