A third round of Russian-backed talks on the Syrian war opened in the Kazakh capital Astana on Tuesday without armed rebel groups, leaving little hope for a breakthrough in ending the six-year conflict.
The talks, sponsored by regime allies Russia and Iran and rebel-backer Turkey, come as other diplomatic efforts to end the bloodshed have proved fruitless.
Regime negotiator Bashar al-Jaafari, Syria's ambassador to the UN, slammed the decision by the rebels to snub the talks but insisted that progress could still be made in their absence.
"We are eager to ensure the success of the Astana path... whether or not the armed factions attend," Jaafari was quoted as saying by Syria's SANA news agency.
"The failure of the armed factions to attend Astana shows the indecency of their politics."
More than 320,000 people have been killed and millions forced to flee their homes since the conflict erupted in March 2011 with protests against President Bashar al-Assad's rule.
Jaafari said the regime delegation had come to Astana primarily to meet with Russia and Iran, and not armed opposition groups.
He said that the sides would discuss "separating the opposition from the terrorists", SANA reported.