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No "Geneva II" Syria peace summit this month, Russian media reports

After repeated delays, chief negotiators had hoped November would be the month all players in the negotiations to end Syria's bloody civil war would finally reconvene in Geneva for talks aimed at finding a political solution to the crisis.

Not so, an official told Russian news agency Itar-Tass on Tuesday.

"The conference will not be held before December," Itar-Tass quoted an unidentified source as saying in Geneva, as Russian and U.S. diplomats met U.N. special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi in the Swiss city.

Pan-Arab network Al-Arabiya also reported that the November goal would be missed.

In May, Russia and the U.S. announced plans to convene a conference that would seek a negotiated solution to the bloodshed that has claimed more than 100,000 lives since the war began nearly three years ago. It has been delayed ever since, and neither side in the conflict has said with certainty that it will take part.

The differences between the sides are many: Many key rebel factions insist President Bashar Assad must agree to step down before they are willing to talk, a precondition Damascus has scoffed at; Assad has insisted foreign entities stop arming rebels, a precondition that countries like Saudi Arabia and Qatar have largely ignored.

Another complicating matter is the fact that Syria's opposition is bitterly divided. American officials have said this division, specifically the rise of Islamic extremist factions factions among the rebels, is giving Assad the upper hand.

Just last week, Assad sacked a deputy prime minister who met Western officials to discuss the possibility of holding a peace conference, saying he acted without permission.

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