A demonstrator clenches his fist in front of a poster of Syrian President Bashar Assad. File picture: Salvatore Di Nolfi

Geneva -

Syrian government and opposition delegates are starting a fresh round of UN-brokered peace talks.

The first face-to-face meetings mediated by UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi adjourned 10 days ago having achieved little beyond getting the warring sides into the same room.

Brahimi began holding separate closed-door meetings with the government and opposition delegations on Monday to try to set an agenda for the coming week.

Prospects for common ground appear unlikely as the two sides continue to disagree on the core issue of President Bashar Assad's future.

Fighting has escalated since the first round, with violence disrupting food distribution meant to ease the plight of civilians in the central city of Homs and near Damascus. - Sapa-AP