Europe

Syrian government delegation arrives in Geneva for talks

A Russian soldier is seen as smoke rises from a controlled land mine detonation by Russian experts in the ancient town of Palmyra in the central Homs province, Syria, Thursday, April 14, 2016. Russian combat engineers arrived in Syria on a mission to clear mines in Palmyra, which has been recaptured from Islamic State militants in an offensive that has proven Russia's military might in Syria despite a drawdown of its warplanes. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

A Russian soldier is seen as smoke rises from a controlled land mine detonation by Russian experts in the ancient town of Palmyra in the central Homs province, Syria, Thursday, April 14, 2016. Russian combat engineers arrived in Syria on a mission to clear mines in Palmyra, which has been recaptured from Islamic State militants in an offensive that has proven Russia's military might in Syria despite a drawdown of its warplanes. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)  (The Associated Press)

Syrian state media says a government delegation has arrived to join the new round of U.N.-mediated peace talks with an umbrella opposition group that began this week in Geneva.

The arrival of the Damascus team, led by Syria's U.N. Ambassador Bashar Jaafari, comes amid an escalation in northern Aleppo province that has left 34 dead on both sides. The renewed fighting has undermined the fragility of the cease-fire that has largely held elsewhere in Syria.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says that of those killed in the past 24 hours in the clashes, 14 were pro-government fighters and 20 were militants.

U.N. Special Envoy Steffan De Mistura has said he hopes this round will have substantive talks on a peace process to resolve the country's five-year civil war.