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UN: Syria Peace Talks Planned for January

FILE - A damaged hospital hit by one of the three truck bombs in the YPG-controlled town of Tel Tamer, Syria, Dec. 11, 2015.

The head of the U.N.'s office in Geneva said Tuesday the world body intends to host Syrian peace talks there next month.

Michael Moller told reporters an exact date had not yet been set, but that the target is sometime at the end of January.

Geneva was the site of two rounds of U.N.-brokered peace talks early last year between President Bashar al-Assad's government and rebels who have been fighting him since March of 2011.

Those negotiations ended with little progress, and momentum for a peace deal evaporated while the conflict became more complex with the addition of Islamic State (IS) militants seizing large portions of eastern Syria. But in recent months the push for peace has been renewed, including several international meetings bringing together world powers with a commitment to get the warring sides talking again.

Diplomats such as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry have promoted ending the civil war as the most important step in defeating IS fighters and bringing stability to the region.

The U.N. Security Council adopted a resolution last week expressing support for a Syrian-led political process, facilitated by the U.N., with the goal of establishing a transitional government in six months and holding elections in 18 months.

The conflict has killed more than 250,000 people and forced half the country's population to flee Syria as refugees or move to another part of the country to escape the fighting.

Some information is from AP and AFP.