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UN: Syria Talks 'Likely' Delayed As Opposition Quarrels

The United Nations says crucial talks aimed at ending the civil war in Syria would likely be delayed by a few days as a dispute over which opposition groups will attend has intensified.

A spokeswoman for UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura, who is hosting the talks, said the January 25 deadline to start talks in Geneva would probably be missed.

"It is likely the 25th may slip by a few days for practical reasons," Jessy Chahine said on January 21.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said in Davos, Switzerland, that he is confident that even if delayed, the talks will still be held.

Diplomats have been scrambling to put together a group of opposition representatives that are acceptable to the Western coalition of countries fighting Islamic extremist groups, the Syrian government, and Russia -- a close ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Previous attempts to have peace talks collapsed in 2014.

The nearly 5-year-old war has killed more than 250,000 people and displaced millions of others.

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters