GENEVA (AP) — The peace talks in the Syrian civil war are taking a break. The fighting is not.
U.N. Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura announced Wednesday that there would be a "temporary pause" in the indirect peace talks between the government and opposition, saying the process will resume Feb. 25.
The delay reflects the rocky start of the talks Monday in which neither the government nor the opposition even acknowledged that the negotiations had officially begun.
"It is not the end, and it is not the failure of the talks," de Mistura told reporters after a meeting with opposition leaders.
Both sides remain "interested in having the political process started," he added.
The conflict that began in March 2011 has killed at least 250,000 people, displaced 11 million and given an opening for the Islamic State to seize large parts of the country from forces loyal to President Bashar Assad.
"I'm not frustrated, I'm not disappointed," de Mistura said of the pause. "When you have a five-year war and had so many difficult moments, you have to be determined, but also realistic."
The last round of talks broke down in 2014.
The Saudi-backed opposition had been reluctant to come to the talks, saying the government should first end the bombardment of civilians, allow aid into besieged rebel-held areas and release thousands of detainees.
The head of the Syrian delegation, Bashar Ja'afari, said Wednesday that the opposition "had orders from its masters to ruin the talks."
Moscow, meanwhile, said Wednesday that a Russian military adviser had been killed in Syria. The Russian Defense Ministry said the officer was fatally wounded Monday by mortar shelling from the Islamic State.