News Demonstrators protest against the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad outside the UN offices in Geneva during the talks on Friday

At first the talks were delayed for 24 hours, then Syria’s foreign minister threatened to walk out. But last night the two sides agreed to be in the same room. Kim Sengupta reports from Geneva on the UN mission to end the bloodshed

Ahmad al-Jarba, leader of the Syrian National Coalition (SNC), speaks to the press in Geneva, Switzerland

Syria rebels say Russia is prepared to drop Assad

The two sides in Syria’s civil war are due to start talking on Friday after three years of savage strife.

The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon (centre) welcomes delegates hoping to bring an end to Syria’s civil war to the Montreux Palace Hotel in Switzerland

Syria peace talks: John Kerry leads calls for removal of President Bashar al-Assad

The Geneva II peace talks witness bitter opening exchanges from both sides

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov speaks during press conference in Moscow on 17 January 2014. He has since called the UN's withdrawal of its invitation to the Syrian peace talks to Iran

Syria peace talks: Russian Foreign Minster says withdrawing Iran's invitation is 'a mistake, but not a catastrophe'

His words come after the UN offered Iran a place at Wednesday's meetings on Sunday, which had been withdrawn by Monday

Robert Fisk: Egyptians – or 98.1% of them – carry on a proud tradition

This is such stuff as dreams are made on, enough to banish any nightmares troubling the sleep of Egypt’s army commander, General Abdul Fattah al-Sisi

Syria: John Kerry urges opposition to attend peace talks

The US Secretary of State, John Kerry, has urged the Syrian opposition on to attend next week's peace conference in Switzerland and said any individual chosen to lead a political transition in the war-torn country must be acceptable to both the government and opposing forces.

Russia and US unite to push for Syria ceasefire as Kerry and Lavrov meet in Paris

Powers call for humanitarian aid as rebels fight each other

Alistair Burt has warned that the parliamentary vote against military action in Syria has potentially created a dangerous precedent

Former Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt warns of dangerous precedent created by Parliament's Syria vote

'There is now a question mark about what parliament actually will authorise military support for,' he told The Guardian

Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf bin Abdulaziz, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Britain

The West has put Middle East at risk by failing to intervene in Syria and making overtures to the new Iranian regime, says senior Saudi diplomat

Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Britain says his country is left with no choice but to act by itself and seek peace and stability in the region

The sad and puzzling story of Abbas Khan, the British doctor found dead in Syrian jail

What prompted the death of a man whose life was more valuable to Assad than any other foreigner’s in Syria?

British prisoner Dr Abbas Khan found dead in Syrian jail days before he was due to be handed over to MP George Galloway

Family deny Syrian security authorities' claims that he committed suicide and demand an explanation

Pope Francis named Time Magazine's person of the Year: The new spiritual leader on the block

The award recognises impact, not ethics. But in the Pope's case, we have a voice reminding us of tenderness, mercy and compassion

Pope Francis has been named Time magazine's Person of the Year

Pope Francis named Time's Person of the Year

Argentinian beats off Bashar al-Assad and Miley Cyrus, among others

Contenders for Time's Person of the Year

The American magazine will announce its Person of the Year today – and the contenders are a mixture of the good, the bad and the holy. Ian Johnston weighs up the odds

As the West looks away, the Islamists claim Syria’s rebellion for themselves

Diplomatic Channels: Hague is like someone offering sunglasses to a dying man

Bombs and guns ‘have killed 11,500 children’ in Syria, research shows, including some executed and tortured

Reports records 764 children as summarily executed, 112 of whom were reported to have been tortured, including some of infant age

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