The main Syrian opposition group in exile says it's not attending low-level consultations taking place in Geneva and hosted by the U.N. envoy to the war-torn country.

Syrian National Coalition chief Khaled Khoja says President Bashar Assad's government is responsible for Syria's conflict, now in its fifth year. The civil war has killed at least 220,000 people.

Khoja spoke to reporters Monday together with Louay Hussein, longtime Syria-based opposition activist and leader of Building the Syrian State party. Hussein recently fled to Turkey.

Assad's forces have recently suffered a string of defeats in northern and southern Syria.

U.N. envoy Staffan de Mistura last Tuesday launched the consultations in the hopes of restarting peace talks. Two past rounds of direct negotiations between the Syrian government and opposition failed in early 2014.