Almost five years since the civil war sparked off in Syria, peace talks are due to begin in Geneva on Friday, though the opposition has said it will boycott it. The civil war has claimed over 2.5 lakh lives.

The peace talks were scheduled after the United Nations Security Council adopted a peace resolution in December, calling for elections to be held within 18 months in Syria.

While the Bashar al-Assad government agreed to participate in the talks, the Syrian opposition decided to stay away claiming that their demands for humanitarian measures, including a curb on airstrikes, were not addressed, Reuters reported. 

The opposition, High Negotiations Committee, had sought implementation of the key humanitarian articles of the UN resolution, especially humanitarian access to those in need and ending attacks on civilians. 

While the talks were initially scheduled to begin on 25 January, they were pushed to Friday as differences persisted over which groups were to attend. Turkey was against Kurdish representation, claiming the faction was a "terrorist group". 

The office of UN special envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura said that the talks will take place on Friday as scheduled, Reuters reported. 

The High Negotiations Committee was formed last month, bringing together armed groups fighting the Assad forces such as the Islamist Jaysh al-Islam and the Free Syrian Army, as well as political groups opposing the Syrian government.