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2 million have fled the country; and over 130,000 are dead. The ongoing power struggle in Syria has left the country, and its people, tattered. After three years of bloody civil war, UN-backed talks for peace are set to begin Wed. Jan 22 in Montreux, Switzerland.

Mounting pressure has been put on the conference, already named Geneva II, to fix things in Syria. However, peace is far from obtainable when warring sides refuse to consider compromise. Many attempts to bring Bashar Al-Assad’s regime and its opposition together have fallen through in the past; if Geneva II is to be successful, something has to change.

Conference Initiatives
The goal is to reach a practical solution to the conflict in Syria. Hopes are to build a democratic state that upholds international expectations for Human Rights – a standard which has long been overridden in Syria. Prospectively, mechanisms will be created to ensure one faction does not usurp control, a groundbreaking concept for the Syrian political arena. A transitional government which combines representatives from the current regime, opposition, and other groups has been spoken of; however, a mutual agreement seems like a looming impossibility. Ideally, the conference will end with functional peace for all Syrians, not just a flowery concept on paper.

Clashing Agendas
As of January 18, the Syrian National Coalition, an umbrella organization representing the opposition, and Assad’s government had confirmed attendance. Presence is important but cooperation is imperative to the success of Geneva II. The clearly different expectations of the conference threaten to keep peace hazily out of reach for Syria.

The opposition is unrelenting on their belief that peace cannot exist with the corrupt Assad regime holding political power. They are firmly demanding the removal of President Bashar Al-Assad. Assad however, has no intention to withdrawal from power. Instead he hopes the conference will assist the Syrian government to rid the homeland of “terrorists”, or those who oppose his regime.

Time will tell if the conference will be an effective tool in stopping innocent bloodshed in Syria, or a luxurious political weekend sealed with a pretty concept that will never work. While the world waits for a response from Geneva II, World Compassion will continue providing food and hope to the civilian victims who have lost everything to this conflict.

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