There are fresh rounds of diplomacy planned this week to try and calm the war in Syria. Beginning on Thursday, representatives from around a dozen countries including the US, Russia, Syria, and Turkey will gather in Vienna to discuss the situation.
A new safe zone would be a fourth of its kind, which Russian, Iranian and Turkish officials claim led to a decline in violence in Syria. But any comprehensive and long-lasting peace will require the weight of the UN.
Syria began its descent into civil war in early 2011, when government security forces shot and killed protesters. But if President Bashar al-Assad thought a show of force would end the protests, he was wrong.
Russia has been disillusioned by the new round of tough sanctions passed by the US Congress. A fresh start in relations between the two superpowers seems unlikely, and there are growing calls for retaliation.
Turkish President Erdogan has arrived in Saudi Arabia on a three-nation tour that will put his diplomatic skills to the test. He must preserve the alliance with Qatar, while not jeopardizing good relations with Riyadh.
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