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His words come after the UN offered Iran a place at Wednesday's meetings on Sunday, which had been withdrawn by Monday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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Vietnam & Cambodia
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Bruges
India & Nepal
Japan
Berlin, Dresden, Meissen & Colditz
Prices correct as of 17 October 2014
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London