The bloody war in Syria has been boiled down to a case of "goodies" and "baddies" by the Australian Prime Minister.

As world leaders gathered in Switzerland to try to find a solution to the complex mess, Tony Abbott gave his take on the situation.

“The difficulty in Syria is that - as I famously, perhaps infamously said during the election campaign - it often seems like a case that involves baddies versus baddies,” Australian media reported him saying.

I guess the best way for all of them to demonstrate that at least some of them are goodies is to lay down their arms and try to ensure that the conflict… starts to subside.”

Last time Abbott invoked the analogy he was accused of being from the "John Wayne school of international relations" by political opponent Kevin Rudd.


William Hague
Arrived in Montreux. Opposition has been tested and has come. Now regime must be tested on willingness to seek a political solution

Representatives of both the Syrian government and the main opposition are attending the peace talks, although an invitation to Iran was withdrawn at the last minute.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urged delegates to "make a new beginning", the BBC reported.

But neither side seems willing to give ground on the future of President Assad.

Foreign Secretary William Hague urged both sides to seize the chance for peace.

"Opposition has been tested and has come. Now regime must be tested on willingness to seek a political solution," he tweeted.

"Both sides should seize chance to end the war. 100,000-plus Syrians have died in 18 months since Geneva I."

The so-called Geneva II process is set to get under way however with a renewed focus on alleged large-scale torture and execution of prisoners by government forces.

Former war crimes prosecutors who examined more than 55,000 photographs said to show the emaciated corpses of victims say they implicate the "agents" of the Assad regime.

Hague said there was "compelling and horrific" evidence of abuses and that those responsible should be held to account.