Could Syria ‘torture photos’ be a game-changer for peace talks?

Story highlights

The new report accusing Bashar al-Assad's regime of torture may shift the focus of the peace talks

Syrians may question the authenticity of the photos, writes CNN's Nic Robertson

Organizationally, the Syrian opposition is a mess, he says

Robertson: No one is expecting any major breakthroughs during one day of talks

CNN  — 

The horrific new report accusing Syria’s embattled regime of torturing and killing thousands of detainees in government custody may not be a game-changer for the peace talks set to open in Switzerland on Wednesday, but they may well shift the narrative – if only for a day.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has played some powerful cards ahead of the Geneva 2 talks. He has cranked up the airstrikes in Aleppo, Syria’s biggest city and one of the main flashpoints of the three-year civil war that has devastated the country. And he sent Foreign Minister Walid Moallem to Moscow last week to announce a cease-fire proposal in an attempt to set the stage for opposition groups to look bad if they don’t agree to the deal.

But when Syrian officials step in front of the cameras in Switzerland this week, the questions won’t be about ceasefire deals. They’ll be about the report, first revealed by CNN and the Guardian in an exclusive on Monday, alleging systematic “crimes against humanity” being committed against prisoners in Syrian jails.

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