The United Nations' special envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura, on Wednesday announced a "temporary pause" in the peace talks being held in Switzerland between the government and opposition umbrella group, the High Negotiations Committee. De Mistura said the process will resume on February 25, reported AFP. "I have concluded frankly that after the first week of preparatory talks there is more work to be done, not only by us but the stakeholders," he added.

The announcement came after several days of fruitless talks aimed at starting indirect negotiations between the Syrian government and opposition. While the HNC reluctantly arrived in Geneva on Saturday, a day after President Bashar al-Assad's representatives, the government delegation complained that the opposition body contained terrorists. The near-five-year-old civil war has killed more than 260,000 people in Syria so far.