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

Raising standards: hopes were high in the early days of the United Nations

The good, the bad and global inertia

The answer to disagreement at the UN is not to break international law but to keep looking for consensus. It's difficult, but not impossible

A Syrian on a street in the centre of Deir Ezzor

Syria crisis: More signs US involvement in civil war may be greater than first anticipated as Obama looks to boost rebels

Increased support will include sending expert Army personnel

Syria civil war: Russia sends another navy ship to the Mediterranean

The deployment follows a spy ship sent to the region on Monday

Syria crisis: Obama lines up Congress support for intervention as US Senate votes on draft plan

As President Barack Obama leaves for Europe, the White House keeps up campaign for Congressional support on action

Hollande: 'Reading the interview only increased my determination'

Syria crisis: Assad interview has increased my determination, says France President François Hollande

French President infuriated by 'threats' from Syrian leader - but he may follow Obama's example and wait for a vote

Syria crisis: First CIA-trained rebel unit about to join fighting against Assad regime, says President Obama

In efforts to assure Congress – and Senator John McCain – that action on Syria will be more than just symbolic, Barack Obama says US efforts to support rebels are now in full swing

Syria crisis: Assad regime asks UN to protect it from 'any aggression' from the West

In other international developments, Russia calls US chemical weapons evidence ‘unconvincing’, while France starts revealing its own intelligence for parliament scrutiny and China warns Americans not to act alone on military intervention

President Obama said the United States is ready to launch military action against the Syrian government

Syria crisis: Obama turns decision on military action over to Congress

President makes strong case for air strikes – but there is no guarantee the legislature will back him

Russia's President Vladimir Putin talks to journalists in the far eastern city of Vladivostok

Syria crisis: Obama chemical weapons claim is 'utter nonsense', says Russian President Vlamidir Putin

The Russian President also called on the Obama administration to present the evidence behind its claims

A Free Syrian Army fighter in Khanasir, near Aleppo, yesterday

Beyond reasonable doubt? Evidence on Syrian chemical atrocity fails to make a case for war

Critics say the Joint Intelligence Committee’s report fails to make watertight case for British intervention

UN inspectors in Ain Tarma, Damascus

Syria crisis: Weapons inspectors visit site of alleged chemical attack

UN weapons inspectors have restarted their investigation into last week’s alleged chemical attack in Damascus. Accompanied by armed rebels, UN inspectors visited the suburbs of Jobar and Zamalka, “taking samples and interviewing the victims”, Dr Ghazzan Bwadani, who treated many of those affected, told The Independent.

The convoy of UN inspectors is seen leaving the Four Seasons hotel in Damascus

Syria: UN weapons inspectors attacked as they try to reach site of alleged poison gas attack

Damascus blames 'terrorists' for attack on team trying to get to site of alleged chemical weapon attack after they say they were 'deliberately shot at multiple times'

Activists wear gas masks as they look for dead bodies and collect samples to check for chemical weapon use in the Zamalka area

Aid group says it has treated 3,600 'chemical victims' in Syria

Doctors Without Borders, the Paris-based humanitarian organisation, has said that hospitals it supports in Syria have treated about 3,600 patients with "neurotoxic symptoms" and that 355 have died.

At least twenty killed after car bomb rips through Shia district in Beirut

A powerful car bomb ripped through a southern Beirut district today, killing 20 people and trapping others in burning buildings in a Hezbollah stronghold.

UN set to begin chemical weapons investigation in Syria

Weapons inspectors could finally be about to begin investigating claims that the regime in Syria has used chemical munitions during the country’s bloody civil war after a deal was struck to allow them into the country.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
Prices correct as of 20 February 2015
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn