UN's Syria envoy to discuss prospects for Syria peace conference in Geneva with world powers

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U.N.'s top Syria envoy is heading into meetings with senior Russian and U.S. officials to assess prospects of peace talks in Geneva between Syrian President Bashar Assad's government and a united opposition delegation.

Lakhdar Brahimi and U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman also plan to meet with officials from Britain, France, China and other regional powers affected by the war in Syria.

The conflict began as a largely peaceful uprising against Assad's rule in March 2011. It gradually became an armed conflict after some opposition supporters took up arms to fight a government crackdown on dissent. Over the past year, the fighting took on sectarian overtones with predominantly Sunni Muslim rebels fighting Assad's regime that is dominated by Alawites, an offshoot Shiite group. Over 100,000 people have died.