1,900 die in Syria during peace talks, activists say

BEIRUT -- Activists say that fighting on the ground in Syria has killed nearly 1,900 people, including at least 430 civilians, during the week of U.N.-hosted peace talks in Switzerland.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Friday it has counted 1,870 dead from the day the talks started on Jan. 22 until Thursday evening.

The Observatory says those killed include at least 430 civilians who died from bombs, snipers and missiles. The rest were rebels, al Qaeda militants and forces loyal to President Bashar Assad.

The Observatory bases its information from activists on the ground. Syria's civil war has so far killed over 130,000 people.

The conference in Geneva didn't produce any tangible results but is expected to kick off prolonged negotiations to try to resolve the conflict.

U.N and Arab League mediator Lakhdar Brahimi suggested Feb. 10 as the return date for continuing the peace talks between Syria's warring sides.

Brahimi told reporters Friday that the opposition has accepted the date but the government wants to discuss the matter in Damascus before agreeing to it.

At the end of the first face-to-face meetings between Syria's two sides, Brahimi said he sees some positive steps and common ground but the gaps between the sides "remain wide."

He called the week of meetings "a modest beginning, but it is a modest beginning on which we can build."

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